What Will Illinois Lose in the Sequester?
Our state might take a crippling hit if Congress does not act before Friday. Here is some of what we stand to lose, and a comment from Elmhurst's 5th District Rep.
Deep, nationwide cuts are geared to take place March 1. They're the first of a decade-long $1.2 trillon budget cut plan poised to go into effect unless Congress can compromise on a deficit-reduction plan.
Sequestration could mean that everyone from teachers to meat inspectors to prison employees could be furloughed, not to mention health researchers, park rangers and air traffic controlers. Check out this Feb. 26 Huffington Post article on 9 Ways the Sequester Will Affect You. Suffice to say, it will affect you.
Close to home, according to Eye on Washington, as of November 2012 more than 70,000 federal employees resided in Illinois' 5th District, which includes almost all of Elmhurst. More than 8,300 live in the DuPage portion of the 5th District.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-5th) had this to say about sequestration on Wednesday on the House floor:
For the dozens of groups I’ve met with over the last week, the sequester is not some abstract budgeting term but something that will have real, damaging effects. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago estimates 125 AIDS-afflicted families will lose their housing under sequestration. Illinois Partners for Human Service and the Ounce of Prevention Fund informed me that 4,000 children in Illinois won’t receive Head Start Services.
There is no question we need to address our unsustainable debt and deficit but the cure shouldn’t be worse than the disease. Sequestration is budgeting with a meat cleaver, it’s absurd, and it’s got to end. Congress must come together now and compromise on a solution that is a big, balanced, bipartisan like the plan modeled on Simpson-Bowles.”
And, more than a dozen Elmhurst-based businesses have Department of Defense contracts, including McMaster-Carr Supply, Patten Industries and Littmann Industries, according to forthecommondefense.org.
But the White House concedes the impact will not be as immediately dramatic as recent posturing indicated. The New York Times reported Wednesday that President Barack Obama is counting on “a constant drip-drip-drip of bad news” slowly coming out in congressional districts in the weeks ahead to erode the steadfast opposition of Republican lawmakers to raising taxes.
Here’s what Illinois as a whole stands to lose, according to the White House:
Teachers and Schools: Illinois will lose about $33.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 460 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 39,000 fewer students would be served and about 120 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: Illinois will lose about $24.7 million in funds for about 300 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities.
Work-Study Jobs: Around 3,280 fewer low-income students in Illinois would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college, and around 2,650 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 2,700 children in Illinois, reducing access to early education.
Military Readiness: In Illinois, about 14,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $83.5 million in total.
- Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $19 million
- Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations would be cut by about $7 million.
- Navy: Four planned Naval Station Great Lakes demolition projects ($2 million) could be canceled (as well as a scheduled Blue Angels show in Rockford).
Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Illinois will lose about $587,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
Vaccines for Children: In Illinois around 5,230 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $357,000.
Public Health: Illinois will lose about $968,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats, including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Illinois will lose about $3.5 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3,900 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And, the Illinois State Department of Public Health will lose about $186,000 resulting in around 4,600 fewer HIV tests.
STOP Violence Against Women Program: Illinois could lose up to $273,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 1,000 fewer victims being served.