As part of the fiscal cliff, deep cuts in federal programs are scheduled to go into effect at the end of the year. These cuts, collectively known as the sequester, could cause Wisconsin to shed thousands of jobs and could have very detrimental effects on the health of our communities and the state’s public education system.
The sequester reduces federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next nine years, with the amount split equally between defense and non-defense programs. Next year, these across-the-board cuts will result in an 8% cut in most affected non-defense spending. A report by the Senate Appropriations Committee Majority Staff warns that the sequester would “have destructive impacts on the whole array of federal activities that promote and protect the middle class in this country – everything from education to job training, medical research, child care, worker safety, food safety, national parks, border security and safe air travel. These essential government services directly touch every family in America, and they will be subject to deep, arbitrary cuts under sequestration.”
The specifics of how the sequester will be implemented are not completely settled, but here are some examples (from the report referenced above) of deep cuts that could result from the sequester, and the very negative effects those cuts could have on communities and job creation in Wisconsin in the next year:
- A $17.8 million cut in grant funds to help schools educate disadvantaged children, resulting in 20,856 fewer students served, 92 fewer schools receiving funds, and 244 education jobs lost;
- $8.2 million cut to Head Start funding in 2013, resulting in 1,324 fewer children served and 276 Head Start jobs lost
- $2.8 million cut to the child care and development block grant, resulting in 940 fewer families receiving child care subsidies.
- $271,000 cut to childhood immunization grants, resulting in 3,961 fewer children receiving immunizations.
These drastic cuts would hurt Wisconsin communities and the Wisconsin economy. Congress should find a way to lessen the negative effects of the sequester.