White House Outlines How Budget Cuts Could Impact New York

Feb 25, 2013

Northeastern states are looking at some large cuts in federal aid for a variety of programs including education, military and environmental protection--- IF President Barack Obama can't come to a budget agreement with Congress by March 1st.

Late Sunday, the Obama Administration released a 50-state report, a concise list of "local effects" in the event the so-called "sequestration cuts" automatically kick in.

In its introduction to the report, the White House admitted the sequester cuts would - quote: "threaten hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform."

The reductions total hundreds of millions of dollars - New York could lose 42-point-7 million dollars in financing for primary and secondary education, putting around 590 teacher and aide jobs at risk. That troubles New York State United Teachers President Dick Ianuzzi.

Environmental programs are also on the chopping block, including those aimed at maintaining water and air quality. New York would see its environmental financing cut by nearly $13 million.

The impact on New York's youngest citizens would be enormous: 70,000 children would lose access to the Head Start program; childhood vaccination programs would lose funding. Thousands of civilian employees of the Department of Defense would be furloughed, and there would be furloghs for airport screeners and air traffic controllers that could bump up wait times at JFK airport to more than four hours.

Congressman Chris Gibson blames the Obama administration for failing to heed recommendations made by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission on deficit reduction. The Kinderhook Republican is concerned about the potential impacts  sequestration will have on New York.

Observers remark that we've gone from "Fiscal Cliff" to "Cliffhanger" - perhaps Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer summed it up best when he told a gathering in Albany last week, quote  "the way Washington works, sort of like Albany, things get done at the very last minute."