White house releasing sequestration cuts to FL

11:22 PM, Feb 24, 2013   |    comments
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President Obama and Congressional members wrestle over budget matters.



ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - The White House released a breakdown of how the looming $85 billion in automatic budget cuts will affect the 50 states, including Florida, if Congress fails to prevent sequestration.

We have reached this point as the president tries to spur growth through tax increases, investment, and spending reductions. But Republicans believe growth comes through lower taxes and spending reductions, which in turn will spur companies to hire and invest.

Both sides have failed to agree, so sequestration kicks in on March 1st, which means federally funded programs will be cut.

Read the full sequestration report (.PDF)

According to the White House breakdown, primary and secondary education would lose about $54.5 million in funding; that puts around 750 teacher and aide jobs at risk. Funding for 380 teachers, aides, and staff for students with disabilities would also be slashed at a cost of $31.1 million.

"That fact that they could be losing their math coach, their reading coach, their academic intervention specialist," said Megan Allen, a teacher at Shaw Elementary in Tampa.

Just last week, Allen testified before the U.S. House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on how the cuts would affect students at her school. "Our students with disabilities ... they'll lose a lot of their teachers, their aides and their supports as well, and these are supports that they are federally entitled to," said the 2010 Teacher of the Year winner. 

The cuts will also affect 6,250 college students across the state who use the work-study program if lawmakers fail to come to an agreement before the Friday deadline.

"I know it's a lot of kids that come from underprivileged communities, and they might need that to pay for college," said USF Junior Talhah Riaz.

The report, released Sunday night by the White House, is part of a campaign to pressure congressional Republicans. 

In addition to education, military spending also faces steep cuts. Army base operation funding would be cut by $7 million, and Air Force operations money would be slashed by $23 million.

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