Why We Worry / Raleigh-Durham Bureau
The Sequester cuts may be small relative to the overall national budget, but if Congress does not prevent them, they will be coming in the context of prolonged economic stagnation, as well as recent significant cuts and severe budget shortfalls on the state level.
For North Carolina, new cuts would be particularly painful. The state’s economic recovery has trailed the nation’s, with official unemployment at 9.2% and official poverty at 17.5%. The impoverished are already threatened by the Republican supermajority that has slashed unemployment benefits and is attempting to shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the workers.
According to The White House, the Sequester would cause cuts to education ($41.8 million) and an array of public services in NC. The military sector, of huge importance in the state, would lose $140 million, and 22,000 of its employees would be furloughed.
Key points from The White House memo on Sequester cuts in NC:
- NC will lose about $25 million in funding for primary and secondary education. The state would also lose $16.8 million for educating disabled children.
- 22,000 Department of Defense employees would be furloughed. Army operations would be cut by $136 million, Air Force operations by $5 million.
- NC would lose $5 million in funding for environmental protection, including air, water and wildlife programs.
- Nutrition assistance for the elderly would be cut by $1.5 million.