Sequestration—the automatic, indiscriminate budget cuts that will kick in March 1 because Congress can't get its act together and make a deal on the federal debt—will cost Georgia hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding and thousands of jobs, falling primarily on the neediest among us. Thanks, supercommittee!
The Washington Post has a handy breakdown of how the cuts will affect each state. Here's how they'll impact Georgia:
• $28.6 million for education will be cut in Georgia—enough funding for 390 teachers, 80 schools and 54,000 students.
• We'll lose $3.5 million to protect water and air quality, and $979,000 for fish and wildlife.
• Funding for job searches, referrals and placement will fall by $873,000, so 33,160 unemployed people will get assistance.
• Almost 2,500 fewer low-income students will receive federal college loans, and 890 work-study jobs will be cut.
• In public health, cuts include $925,000 to respond to disease epidemics or natural disasters; $517,000 for HIV tests for 14,300 people; and $2.5 million for substance abuse treatment, meaning 2,400 fewer people will be admitted to programs. Vaccine funding will drop by $286,000, so 4,180 fewer children will get measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, flu and hepatitis shots.
• 1,700 children will lose Head Start and Early Head Start eligibility. In addition, parents of 1,100 disadvantaged children will lose access to child care, potentially threatening their ability to work.
• Justice Assistance Grants for law enforcement and courts will decline by $427,000, and $208,000 that helps victims of domestic violence will vanish.
• About 37,000 civilian Department of Defense employees will be furloughed and Georgia Army and Air Force bases will lose $238 million in funding for operations.
• Funding to provide meals to seniors will be cut by $1.3 million.