by Mitch Perry
Today, the Obama administration released a breakdown on how the sequestration would affect Florida, and the list is considerable.
In a press release sent out this afternoon, Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said that Congress should pass the $110 billion plan Democrats "put on the table last week" to avert the impending mandatory budget cuts.
But Republicans as a whole say that Obama and the Dems are crying wolf, and that the cuts won't be nearly that bad. Today Governor Rick Scott blasted the president (and to a lesser extent Congress) for failing to come up with a deal by now, and listed some services and programs he fears will be hurt if the cuts go through.
“Sequestration means the Obama Administration and Congress failed to do their job to manage the budget. As thousands of Floridians lose their jobs, the Obama Administration and Congress are getting paid for not doing theirs. That’s just wrong," Scott said.
The governor also worried about the impact of cuts in military spending. Scott said, “The impacts on Florida’s military installations and defense industries will be severe under the meat hammer of sequestration. Our immediate concerns include dramatic reductions to our National Guard, which threatens our ability to respond to wildfires this spring and hurricanes this summer."
Keep reading for a complete list of what the Obama administration says will be cut in Florida …
749 Florida teachers could lose their jobs. Title I grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provide financial assistance to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families to help them meet educational performance standards. Sequestration could result in a $54.5 million reduction in funding, supporting 749 fewer jobs and 95,183 fewer students. [HHS, accessed 12/17/12; Department of Education, 2/13/13]
2,700 Florida children will lose access to school readiness programs. Head Start promotes the school readiness of low-income children from birth to the age of five years-old by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. These types of early education services improve students’ chances of success in school. Across-the-board spending cuts could result in a $15.8 million reduction in funding, limiting children’s access and costing 783 jobs. [HHS, accessed 12/17/12; NEA, 2/5/13; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies]
16,440 fewer special education students in Florida will receive support. Special education grants to states provide assistance to help meet the additional costs of providing educational services to children with disabilities. Funding under this program supports the salaries of special education teachers, costs associated with service personnel such as speech therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists, and the use of assistive technology in classrooms. As a result of across-the-board cuts, Florida schools will lose $31.1 million in funding for special education grants, supporting 375 fewer jobs. [Department of Education, accessed 2/12/13; Department of Education, 2/13/13; NEA, 2/5/13]
Parents of Florida children will lose access to child care services. The Child Care and Development Block Grant is the primary federal program devoted to child care services for nearly 1.7 million children. These critical services support children’s health development and learning, while allowing parents to work, seek employment, or receive job training or education. Across-the-board spending cuts could result in a $6,087,508 reduction in funding, limiting access to services and providing support for 1,600 fewer children. [Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies; Administration for Children and Families, accessed on 2/13/13]
Fewer inspections to prevent foodborne illness in Florida. The across-the-board cuts under the sequester could force the FDA to conduct 2,100 fewer inspections of food facilities nationwide, which could raise the risk of safety incidents and lead to more outbreaks of foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may have to furlough employees, which could cause serious delays in food processing and inspection that would result in millions of dollars of losses to the agriculture sector. FSIS inspectors are responsible for ensuring safe conditions at over 6,000 facilities nationwide, including 266 in Florida. [White House, 2/8/13; FSIS, 2/4/13]
Florida will lose $2,489,905 in investments in first responders. FIRE Grants help firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related disasters. SAFER provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters in their communities. At around FY2011 award allotment levels, the across-the-board cuts under sequestration would mean apprxoimately $844,933 less in FIRE Grants and $1,644,973 less in SAFER funding for Florida firefighters and first responders. [CRS, 10/2/12; FEMA, SAFER Grants; FEMA, FIRE Grants]
Florida will lose $25.1 million in funding for medical research and innovation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. NIH’s work has improved human health by increasing life expectancy and making breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. NIH research also has a significant economic impact, directly supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and supporting the medical innovation sector which employs 1 million Americans. Across-the-board budget cuts would mean that reduced NIH award funding would impede medical research and cost 641 jobs. [NIH, accessed 2/12/13; UMR, 2/13]
$8.3 million less for scientific research in Florida. Under the across-the-board cuts forced by sequestration, at approximate FY2012 award allotment levels Florida would lose roughly $8.3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), resulting in fewer awards to support job-creating research into new scientific breakthroughs. The NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities, and supports the basic research that leads to scientific advancement in fields like nanotechnology, mathematics, and computer science. [NSF, accessed 2/12/13; DPCC calculations based on NSF, accessed 2/12/13]
Florida will experience deep cuts in funding for housing and community development. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides communities with resources to provide decent housing, expand economic opportunity for local residents, and create jobs through the retention and expansion of businesses. The Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) program assists low-income and elderly Americans afford safe and clean housing in the private market. Across-the-board cuts would have serious consequences for these programs in Florida by reducing CDBG funding by $6,414,416 and allowing the HCV program to support 4,920 fewer families. [CBPP, 2/14/13; HUD CDBG; HUD HCV]
1,016 fewer Florida women will be screened for cancer. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program helps low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women gain access to diagnostic services like clinical breast examinations, mammograms, pap tests, and pelvic examinations. An across-the board cut could result in $255,957 in reduced funding. [CDC, accessed 12/17/12; DPCC Calculations Based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, 7/25/12]
7,950 fewer children will receive life-saving vaccinations. Grants for childhood immunizations help to purchase and distribute vaccines for poor and uninsured children. An across-the board cut could result in $543,162 in reduced funding. [CDC, accessed 12/17/12; DPCC Calculations Based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, 7/25/12]
$2,922,050 less to provide seniors with meals on wheels and nutrition services. Senior nutrition programs provide meals and nutrition services to seniors in group settings like senior centers or through delivery to individuals who are homebound because of illness, disability, or geographic isolation. Across-the-board cuts would reduce funding used to ensure that Florida seniors remain healthy and independent. [AOA accessed on 2/12/13; DPCC Calculations Based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, 7/25/12]