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How Could Sequestration Affect Edmonds?

Washington state is set to lose more than $11 million in education funding and $173.4 million in pay for furloughed military employees, according to the White House.

With time rapidly running out until sequestration goes into effect this Friday, many local officials still aren't sure exactly how the automatic federal spending cuts would play out in Washington state.

According to the White House, Washington's biggest losses would be in education and military spending. In 2013, officials have said our state would lose $11.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, along with $11.3 million for education for children with disabilities—which would together put about 300 education jobs at risk.

The Edmonds School District stands to lose about $400,000 in federal funds for the next school year if a solution is not found, said Stewart Mhyre, Executive Director of Business and Operations for the district.

"At this point we've just kind of begun our budget cycle. We recognize this is a loss in revenue," Mhyre said, but last year's reinforcing the state's obligation to fully fund public education, likely will mean an increase in revenue, though it's not clear yet how much.

"We don't expect an immediate impact on Shoreline Schools from sequestration during the current school year, but if the planned reductions in federal funding extend into the next school year we would have to consider adjustments to the 2013-14 budget," Degginger said.

This is because federal grants are awarded in July for the following school year, explained another area District Spokesperson, Kathryn Reith of the Lake Washington School District.

Federal grants that could be affected by sequestration include those for the most at-risk students: Special Education, Head Start, English language learners, Vocational Education, Indian Education, and Title I funding for schools with low income populations would all be impacted.

The impact to jobs would be more significant with military employees, according to the White House's projections. Across the state, about 29,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, resulting in a loss of $173.4 million in gross pay.

Some social services would also be hard hit. Washington stands to lose more than $1 million in nutritional assistance for senior residents and $143,000 in funds for victims of domestic violence—requiring the STOP Violence Against Women Program to serve approximately 500 fewer victims.  

Unemployment insurance another area that could see some impacts from sequestration. The Seattle Times reports that up to 141,000 Washington residents who are accepting unemployment checks could be impacted, but state officials aren't sure exactly how severe the cuts would be.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said it might shut down eight airports in our state—including Renton Municipal Airport and Paine Field in Everett—but it's still not clear whether or not that would actually happen, according to The Times.

A state-by-state comparison compiled by Wells Fargo shows Washington would be one of the states hardest-hit by sequestration because 5.9 percent of our state's GDP comes from federal spending—much of it in the form of military spending. 

President Obama will meet with top Congressional leaders on Friday, the day sequestration is scheduled to begin taking effect.

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Are you concerned about the local impacts of sequestration, should it go into effect? Tell us in the comments section.

Johnnie March 02, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Getting rid of the department of education doesn't necessarily mean cutting education funding. In fact many believe it would increase available money to fund education. Instead of having a top heavy federal level agency, the state's board of education would handle education decisions. It is really about eliminating a level of management (something private companies have already done to save costs). Education is a function that states can handle and used to until the federal agency was created in 1980. I feel this is a reasonable opinion. /r/politics may not agree, but can we discuss our difference of opinion in a reasonable fashion. I'm truly interested in what the United States Department of Education does that is valued by its supporters.
Bob Wilke March 02, 2013 at 06:07 PM
The sequester was the presidents idea and the congress went along with it. What has happened since should go down in history as embarrassing, particularly for the president. I have never witnessed a president who has engaged in such finger-pointing, fearmongering and deviceveness in my entire life. The sequester amounts to a 1.1% cut in what we WERE going to spend in 2013. We are actually going to spend much more than we did in 2012. As i recall, the government ran pretty well on what we spent in 2012. In fact the entire amount of sequester dollars we're talking about is approximately $44B. Compare that to the roughly $4T budget and you get 1.1% The American people need to wake up (or better yet, pay attention) because our country is being fundamentally transformed right before our very eyes. We need to start ignoring the party and paying attention to our constitution and our country first and foremost. I need an aspirin!

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