The Star-Ledger

White House Outlines What Spending Cuts Mean For N.J.

The Star-Ledger — Monday, February 25, 2013

By Dan Goldberg / The Star-Ledger

President Obama and his allies spent the past week barnstorming the nation, warning of the dire consequences that will occur if the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, take effect on Friday.

The spending cuts would trim federal expenditures by $1.2 trillion over the next nine years, including an $85 billion reduction for the current fiscal year that ends in September.

Republicans in Congress accused Obama of hyping the consequences for political gain, and reiterated the automatic spending cuts were the President's idea in the first place.

"We await action not more fear-mongering speeches from President Obama and his former colleagues in the Senate," said Maggie Seidel, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep Scott Garrett (R-5th dist.). "Until then, all harm falls squarely on their inaction, again."

Seidel added Garrett has joined his colleagues in the House twice to replace the sequester.

U.S. Rep Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) said last week he still hopes to revisit the spending cuts. He said he would prefer to go through the federal budget line by line as opposed to making automatic cuts that affect broad swaths of federal spending.

The President's plan calls for an increase in tax revenue to offset some of the sequester's cuts, a non-starter for many Republicans.

The White House today released state-by-state reports on the cuts' impact.

These are projections and they assume the sequester will remain in effect throughout the fiscal year, but they paint a gloomy picture for the Garden State.

The White House estimates 11,000 civilian contractors, who work at New Jersey military bases, would be furloughed, saving the federal government about $75 million. Funding to Army bases would be cut by about $52 million and Air Force base funding would be cut by about $7 million.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing and Essex County Airport in Fairfield could lose their air traffic control towers. Atlantic City International Airport could also be impacted by the government spending cuts — the FAA said that facility is slated to lose its overnight shifts in the control tower.

K-12 education funding could be cut by nearly $12 million. Special education funding could take a $17 million hit. The White House estimates 1,480 fewer low income students would receive aid to help pay for college and around 650 fewer students will get work-study jobs. Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for 1,300 children. The state would also lose about $5 million in environmental funding, which helps ensure clean water and air. Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Irvington, a representative of the watchdog group New Jersey Citizen Action said the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected more than 43,000 job losses in the Garden State alone in 2013.

While national politicians blame each other for the impending crisis, governors of both parties are begging for a resolution.

"It's senseless and it doesn't need to happen," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, (D-Md.), during the annual meeting of the National Governors Association this weekend.

"And it's a damn shame, because we've actually had the fastest rate of jobs recovery of any state in our region."

Some governors said the impasse was just the latest crisis in Washington that is keeping businesses from hiring and undermining the ability of state leaders to develop their own spending plans.

"I've not given up hope, but we're going to be prepared for whatever comes," said Gov. Brian Sandoval, (R-Nev.) "There will be consequences for our state."


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