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Sequester pain will be felt across U.S., county

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 6th, 2013

SANTA CRUZ — As the U.S. girds itself for cuts to programs and services nationwide as a result of the so-called sequester, Democrat and Republican lawmakers are blaming each other for inaction that led to the potential cuts.

What is certain is that sequestration is the result of U.S. lawmakers’ failure to produce a budget plan that would have cut at least $1.2 trillion in spending over 10 years.

Unless the lawmakers can come to a compromise, states must begin to make cuts now, with impacts expected to be felt throughout 2013 and beyond.

In a statement issued March 1, the White House blamed stubborn lawmakers for the sequester.

“By not asking the wealthy to pay a little more, Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction,” White House spokespeople said in a prepared statement. “The President is determined to cut spending and reduce the deficit in balanced way, but he won’t stick the middle class with the bill. The President is willing to compromise, but on behalf the middle class he cannot accept a deal that undercuts their economic security.”

But House Speaker John Boehner accused the president and Democrats of using the cuts to send a message by targeting vulnerable people.

“Washington Democrats have yet to get serious about working with us to replace the president’s sequester with cuts that confront our government’s spending binge that’s draining the economy and threatening our children and grandchildren,” Boehner said. “Their ‘solution’ to date? Campaign-style events with Head Start kids, air traffic controllers and military men and women as props to press for additional tax hikes on all Americans.”

Cynthia Sloan, director of child and family development programs for the Head Start program in Watsonville, said the sequester will amount to a 5 percent cut nationally for the program.

This could mean that 70,000 children across the U.S. will be dropped from the program. A $315,000 cut in Santa Cruz County could mean as many as 40 children being dropped, Sloan said.

“I am extremely frustrated,” Sloan said. “I feel as though this was something that could have been avoided. My heart goes out to parents and children who will be impacted.”

For the complete article see the 03-07-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-07-2013 paper.

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