East Hawaii News

Fact Sheet Details Sequester Impacts to Hawaii

February 27, 2013, 5:14 PM HST
* Updated February 27, 5:15 PM
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The looming federal budget cuts would slash $4.7 million from Hawaii’s schools, putting the jobs of 60 teachers and their aides at risk, according to an analysis released this week by the White House.

The state-by-state release is part of President Obama’s move to rally support for his efforts to get congressional Republicans to reach a compromise to stop the automatic budget cuts – known as the sequester – set to take effect at midnight Friday.

According to the fact sheet for Hawaii, other impacts of the sequester in the state would include:

  • Furloughs for approximately 20,000 Department of Defense employees in the state — most involving the US Army — which would reduce their gross pay by about $134 million,
  • The loss of $2 million in funding for 20 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities
  • The elimination of Head Start and Early Head Start services for approximately 200 children
  • The loss of $1.3 million in funding for environmental programs aimed at clean water and air
  • The loss of $359,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection
  • The loss of $79,000 in Justice Assistance Grants for local law enforcement, prosecution and courts
  • The loss of $111,000 in assistance for those seeking jobs
  • Loss of access to child care for up to 200 disadvantaged children
  • Loss of funding for vaccinations for about 760 children
  • Loss of $380,000 for treatment of substance abuse
  • Loss of $189,000 for funding to provide meals for seniors

Nationwide, the Office of Management and Budget calculates that the sequestration will cut about 8% from defense programs and 5% from nondefense programs. However, those cuts would have to be achieved over a seven-month period instead of a year which means they will translate to actual cuts of 13% and 9%, respectively.

The Washington Post is reporting that Obama will meet Friday with Republican congressional leaders to try to get them to accept tax increases to avoid the $85 billion in spending cuts.

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However, GOP lawmakers so far have maintained that they are unwilling to allow new taxes beyond the $600 billion agreed to at the beginning of the year.

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The Senate plans to vote Thursday on a bill that would slow the sequestration through a tax hike on millionaires, but that effort is expected to fail.

Republicans, meanwhile, have been pushing a plan that would have the president decide where the cuts would take place. Obama has not warmed to that idea, saying there are no easy answers with spending cuts of that magnitude.

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