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.
Sumner School District spokesperson Ann Cook said Thursday staff are watching what happens at the federal level and have an eye on possible impact particularly to Title I money, but "we don't spend an awful lot of time playing out worst case scenarios" given the uncertainty of the cuts at the moment.
Most of the business office staff were out Thursday so Cook couldn't provide figures, but she said as a whole the Sumner School District shouldn't expect huge impacts based on how it qualifies for federal funding.
"We don't have a huge amount of our budget that comes from federal funds," she said.
In the Enumclaw School District, business and operations director Tim Madden estimated a 5.3 percent cut of federal funding amounting to over $75,000. This includes:
- Title I (Improving Basic Programs): $18,281
- Title II (Teacher and Principal Training): $7,074
- Title III (Migrant and Bilingual) : $1,696
- Federal Special Ed.: $47,584
- Career and Tech Ed. Grant: $1,117
"This may not look like a lot in light of our overall budget of $44 million," Madden said. "However, the cuts are direct hits on specific programs that will result in possible loss of services, staff, etc."
The cuts, should they happen, would not so much affect the current school year but the following 2013-14 academic year.
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.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno says across-the-board cuts will result in $500 billion in defense spending cuts and could prevent troops stationed in Afghanistan from coming home as scheduled.
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.
The Enumclaw Senior Center, which provides meals to seniors on site as well as home deliveries of frozen meals, does so through contracts with Catholic Community Services and Senior Services of Seattle and King County, respectively, said manager Jobyna Nickum. In turn, those agencies contract with the Department for Aging and Disability Services in King County. Federal cuts would first impact that agency before they would trickle down to the city level, but as of Wednesday, Nickum said she hadn't heard what such cuts might be.
The community is vulnerable to those federal cuts, said Nickum, even though details remain uncertain. Meanwhile, local volunteers late last year started the Neighbors Feeding Neighbors (NFN) program, a non-profit organization, to provide hot home delivered meals to local seniors. NFN is currently sustained by grants and donations and not tied to federal money. Since Jan. 1, it has served more than 400 hot meals to local seniors, Nickum said.
The Sumner Senior Center also contracts with Catholic Community Services to provide on site meals for community seniors, program director Melissa Holt said Thursday. It does not oversee any sort of home delivery meal program. Efforts to contact the Bonney Lake Senior Center on Thursday were unsuccessful.
The Washington Trails Association last week explored where cuts might land in the state's national parks. At nearby Mount Rainier National Park, the WTA reports $604,000 would need to come out affecting the closure of Ohanapecosh Visitor Center this year and up to 85,000 visitors.
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 would be meeting with top Congressional leaders today, the day sequestration is scheduled to begin taking effect. CNN reported Thursday evening:
Expectations for that meeting are low. Most observers think both sides will use the occasion to underline their positions heading into the next round of the budget wars -- a possible government shutdown on March 27, when current federal funding authority expires.
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