Clock is ticking for Kentucky’s sequestration bomb

With the deadline to come up with an alternative to the sequestration meat cleaver ending Friday — which Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie are cheering on to expire with no deal, saying the budget should be cut even more — last night the White House released numbers showing what this would mean for each state.

Here are the numbers for Kentucky:

If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Kentucky this year alone are:

Teachers and Schools: Kentucky will lose approximately $11.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 160 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 21,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding.

Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Kentucky will lose approximately $7.7 million in funds for about 90 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs: Around 1,710 fewer low-income students in Kentucky would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 470 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,100 children in Kentucky, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Kentucky would lose about $2.1 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Kentucky could lose another $774,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: In Kentucky, approximately 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $54.4 million in total.

Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $122 million in Kentucky.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Kentucky will lose about $171,000 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 those in Kentucky find Employment and Training: Kentucky will lose about $478,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 16,690 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care: Up to 500 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 Kentucky around 1,350 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 $92,000.

Public Health: Kentucky will lose approximately $414,000 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, Kentucky will lose about $1 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 1,200 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Kentucky State Cabinet of Health and Family Services will lose about $83,000 resulting in around 2,100 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program: Kentucky could lose up to $93,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 400 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Kentucky would lose approximately $677,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

I’m highly skeptical about those Defense Department cuts — as much of that money goes to very questionable civilian contracts (such as art, for example) — but here are some more of the national consequences on the non-defense budget cuts:

Cuts to Education: Our ability to teach our kids the skills they’ll need for the jobs of the future would be put at risk. 70,000 young children would lose access to Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk, and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut.

Cuts to Small Business: Small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs in America. Instead of helping small businesses expand and hire, the automatic cuts would reduce loan guarantees to small businesses by up to approximately $900 million.

Cuts to Food Safety: Outbreaks of foodborne illness are a serious threat to families and public health. If sequestration takes effect, up to 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur, putting families at risk and costing billions in lost food production.

Cuts to Research and Innovation: To compete for the jobs of the future and ensure that the next breakthroughs to find cures for critical diseases are developed right here in America, we need to continue to lead the world in research and innovation. Most Americans with chronic diseases don’t have a day to lose, but under sequestration, progress toward cures would be delayed and several thousand researchers could lose their jobs. Up to 12,000 scientists and students would also be impacted.

Cuts to Mental Health: If sequestration takes effect, up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated. This would likely lead to increased hospitalizations, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness for these individuals.

Many more details on the budget cuts can be read here, including cuts by the Federal Aviation Administration that could lead to serious job losses at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington.

If these cuts go through because Republicans refuse to compromise on ending tax loopholes for millionaires, Rand Paul may be able to brag about it to his 2016 Iowa Caucus constituency, but he’ll have a little more trouble explaining this back home.


  1. David Adams
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    No. We need real cuts. This is a terrible start to the the discussion because the President wants it to be a terrible start to the discussion and because congressional Republicans folded in August of 2011 rather than stay firm in demanding that the conversation begin then rather than giving Obama a pass through his re-election campaign.

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