Today begins the last week that Congress has left to avoid the autmoatic across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, which are set to go into effect if Congress doesn't act by Friday. On Sunday, the Obama Administration released a state-by-state breakdown of the impacts of these cuts. And as it looks less and less likely that Congress will compromise on a deal to delay the sequester, it means these dire warnings may soon become a reality.
The worst part is that these cuts are avoidable. Senate Democrats have drafted a bill that would postpone sequestration for ten months by generating $110 billion in savings, split between spending cuts to defense and farm programs, and new revenues from higher income taxes on millionaires and ending corporate tax loopholes. House Democrats have proposed similar legislation. Even Republican governors are asking for the Republicans in Congress to compromise. But the GOP is refusing to consider any new tax revenue – not even a higher tax on the wealthiest Americans to prevent $85 billion in cuts to critical government programs and a slowing of economic growth by up to 1.25 percent.
So what exactly would this mean for Texas? A whole lot more than a bunch of furloughed Feds.
Find out how bad the sequester could be for Texas below the jump.Aside from delayed tax returns, longer lines at airports and other nuisances, expect major cuts to programs that help those with the greatest needs:
Teachers and Schools
Texas will lose approximately $67.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 930 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 172,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 280 fewer schools would receive funding. In addition, Texas will lose approximately $51 million in funds for about 620 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
Around 4,720 fewer low income students in Texas would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 1,450 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 4,800 children in Texas, reducing access to critical early education.
Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water
Texas would lose about $8,467,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Texas could lose another $2,235,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total. Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $233 million in Texas. Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Texas would be cut by about $27 million. Navy: Reduce procurement of the Joint Strike Fighter from Texas, and cancel scheduled Blue Angels shows in Corpus Christi and Fort Worth.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution
Texas will lose about $1,103,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
Job Search Assistance to Help people in this state find Employment and Training
Texas will lose about $2,263,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 83,750 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
Up to 2,300 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.
Vaccines for Children
In Texas around 9,730 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $665,000.
Texas will lose approximately $2,402,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Texas will lose about $6,750,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And Texas' health departments will lose about $1,146,000 resulting in around 28,600 fewer HIV tests.
STOP Violence Against Women Program
Texas could lose up to $543,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 2,100 fewer victims being served.
Nutrition Assistance for Seniors
Texas would lose approximately $3,557,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.