Sequester in Florida: What Do You Think About the $85 Billion in Cuts?

The White House has released a document highlighting the deep cuts Florida will face if a deal isn’t reached before March 1. We’d like to get your take on the cuts and what should be done to avoid them.

Tampa Bay is a long way from Washington, D.C., but it’s often clear what happens there has very real, very dramatic impacts on our day to day life.

Case in point: the upcoming “sequester,” which will impose $85 billion in automatic spending cuts on the federal government as of March 1 if a deal isn’t reached, according to The Huffington Post.

Those cuts dig deep into just about every government agency imaginable from the federal to the local level. They affect the military, schools, law enforcement, air traffic control, food inspections and more.

In Florida, the impacts this year alone, according to a document released by the White House (see attached PDF) could be staggering. Here are just a few of the impacts the White House says will hit Florida in 2013:

  • Florida will lose approximately $54.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 750 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 95,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 130 fewer schools would receive funding
  • Funding for Air Force operations in Florida would be cut by about $23 million
  • Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 2,700 children in Florida, reducing access to critical early education
  • In Florida, approximately 31,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $183.2 million in total
  • Florida will lose about $970,000 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

The list goes on.

What is the Sequester?

The sequester was agreed to back in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act. The agreement stated if Congress couldn’t reach a deal to cut spending and reduce the federal deficit on its own, the across-the-board cuts would go into effect, according to Forbes.

Fast forward to 2013 and there’s no deal in sight. The Democrats want to see a combination of spending cuts and tax increases enacted. The Republicans say there have been enough tax increases already and budget woes should be handled through more targeted spending cuts, according to ABC News.

If a deal isn’t struck by Friday, March 1, the sequester kicks in. While it delivers those spending cuts the Republicans want, the sequester was designed to create across-the-board cuts of 10 percent. This means wiggle room to keep spending in certain areas higher won’t be available.

Here’s what we’d like your take on Tampa Bay: What do you think about the proposed spending cuts? What’s your take on government’s failure to reach a compromise? How do you think the sequester could be avoided? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

David Conkle February 25, 2013 at 09:21 PM
While you all argue over what happened in the past and how we got to our current situation, let's just agree there is plenty of blame to shared by both parties in this matter. Both parties seem more interested in being reelected than in doing the people's business. However, it certainly appears that the Republican Party is more at fault here then their counterparts because they are more interested in scoring political points than solving problems in a balanced and logical manner. Shame on them and a pox upon their houses. Actions speak louder than words, what are the Republican actions saying to the citizens of our once great country?
Patriot February 25, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Michael D: Cheers to that! Yes, both parties are negligent!
harry read February 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM
let the cuts happen. if you can not budget 3% the goverment should not be in business. cut your goverment back get rid of the dead weight. what do you think their going to do when they drain the rich? they will be taxing us.
Michael D. February 25, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Instead of draining the rich as you put it, why don't we remove all the loopholes and have a flat tax rate. When the average middle class citizen is paying approximately 30% of their income in taxes when the average lower and upper class citizens are paying 14% how is that draining. How about everyone pay their fair share at say 18%? Stop the loopholes and just pay your percentage. Strangely this is just the idea that many Fortune 500 companies are telling the government as well. Remove the loopholes and have them all pay the same lowered percentage and the gross revenue in taxes will go up.
Steve February 25, 2013 at 11:06 PM
"Draining the rich" will take a lot of doing. Over the past ten years, the net worth of the top 1% in the US has gone up by 121%, when adjusted for inflation. The net worth of the OTHER 99% remained "flat." The cost of the tax loopholes which were NOT fixed in the last set of tax increases (just done) is estimated at $1.1 Trillion a year, most of which go to the upper-earners in the US. They just WANT you to believe that "everybody's" taxes are going to have to go up; ain't so.
ptb February 26, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Get on with , make the cuts and stop all the free lunches in the public school system. momma don't want to work then the baby don't eat.Stop wasting money on bombs and missles . You might as well take a fist full of dollars to your backyard and burn them.Same thing as blowing up a bomb. The us is the most wastefull govt. in history.
dave February 26, 2013 at 10:27 AM
no one takes responsibility for prudent and logical spending, hence the cust need to happen and continue to happen. it is interesting that a majority of people receiving assistance refer to it as free rather than tasxpayor funded.
Leroy A Haggard February 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Our elected officials must thing the general public is stupid. It is a scare tatic. Taxpayers gave more to victims of Huricane Sandy than what this cut is all about. If spending is not cut, than watch out, "you ain't seen nuttin yet," We will end up paying taxes for everything, even the air we breathe.
Wayne Godfrey February 26, 2013 at 02:04 PM
True. This is the most wastefull govt. In history.
ssm February 26, 2013 at 02:17 PM
This is a time era that we all are going to suffer from. The past catches up. However, with all the "cuts", I worry about our nation's defenses. Is America really ready for future attacks? Politicians play games with our lives.
JS February 26, 2013 at 04:30 PM
How can they be cuts when we are borrowing 47 cents on every dollar? Get back to me on the so called cuts when the clown in the White House balances the budget. THEN THEY ARE CUTS. Until then is simply reduced borrowing. Quit squandering my children's national inheritance to the tune of over a trillion a year. Ridiculous.
HLL February 26, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Charlie Mac February 26, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Why didn't obama golf with a poor people? Why didn't obama take a lesson from a $50.00 an hour golf instructor? Why didn't he skip his $7 million dollar golf weekend an do some shared sacrifice? Until the freeloaders in DC take a across the board 25% paycut they should not ask the sheep for anything. What would you do if you didnt have to give tax dollars for them to piss away? .
Lynn February 26, 2013 at 07:26 PM
We need to stop spending!!!!!!! O got his tax hike on the 'rich'. Let's now cut spending and WHY DON'T WE HAVE A BUDGET??????? We need a budget. Outrageous
Michael February 26, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Yeah! BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET. Politicians hear us. Stop the spending.
Richard Kerosky February 27, 2013 at 02:17 AM
You say spending cuts. That suggest that spending will be lower than it was in 2012. Is that what you want the article to convey? Or does that spending cut really reflect a cut over the increase, but the 2013 spending is higher than 2012.
Steve February 27, 2013 at 09:39 PM
OMB, sky is falling, Sequester will kill economy --- but wait, STOCK MARKET HITS ALL-TIME HIGH TODAY!!! Sequester fears are just total BS. $85B is drop in the bucket, we want more, more & more cuts. Let's not pass on our debt to our kids & grandkids.
Gary Price March 04, 2013 at 05:47 PM
"STOCK MARKET HITS ALL-TIME HIGH TODAY!!!" Find out why, review the first slide. http://www.slideshare.net/whitehouse/president-obamas-deficit-plan
Gary Price March 04, 2013 at 05:48 PM
sharon poole March 05, 2013 at 01:31 PM
The sequester is a joke, it was invented by Obama and now he is blaming others for his idea, it will do nothing to cut the deficit, much more cutting is needed, starting with the monstrosity called "The Affordable Care Act", which is anything but!
Gary Price March 06, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Sequester invented by Obama, really? Paul Ryan would certainly disagree with you. http://youtu.be/NYzjMs-6MAE
John March 07, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Until Obama stops pandering to the far left, and deals with entitlement reform, our taxes will continue to rise just to keep pace with the interest on the debt, let alone fund vital programs. We have to reduce spending, period. I'm ok with reducing loopholes in the tax code, but not to keep spending up. Tax reform should be separate and should either go towards paying down the debt, or decreasing marginal rates across the board to spur investment. Did anyone see the latest on taxes...Govt about to rake in record $2.7 Trillion in taxes. Time to reduce spending.
-Ed Harris- March 07, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I'm counting on President Obamas moderate side and the fact he has no more elections to worry about. Congress as a whole needs to buck up and get to work. The country will continue to get better but it could get better much quicker to the tune of 1-2 years instead of 5-7 yrs. if the two extremes would back off a lot could be accomplished.
Right Here March 07, 2013 at 07:57 PM
"Obamas moderate side". Thanks for the laugh!
-Ed Harris- March 07, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Why does does it always have to be a laugh, if he says he wants to work with everyone we hold his feet and everyone else's feet to the fire.
Dad of Three March 07, 2013 at 10:19 PM
You've got to be clowning around with us, John. Obama has totally ignored the far left, and is instead pandering to moderate conservatives, centrists, and moderate progressives. Of course he is also ignoring the far right, but so are any Republicans who intend for the GOP to be relevant to America in future elections. As to cutting spending, I'm all for that, but there are smart ways to do it, and very very dumb ways to do it. As a starter, I'd suggest you get a copy of the March 4th issue of Time, where there is a terrific analysis (in a thirty page report) of why US health care costs are so outrageous; just getting costs under reasonable control would do a tremendous amount to reduce spending. And, while I am a retired military officer, and a strong advocate for a vigorous defense establishment, there is a tremendous amount of unnecessary spending - much of it mandated by Congressmen and Senators seeking to keep programs running in their home districts. Many of those pork barrel projects are not even wanted by the generals and admirals. Besides, do we really need a massive deployed force in Europe; those Ruskies ain't comin' across the border, friend, and Germany and France the others in Europe are strong enough to defend themselves, if they'll get off their collective asses and spend what they really need to do that.
Steve March 08, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Obama did NOT get "his" tax hike. He didn't even get "our" tax hike. Because of the Republican intransigience, what he DID manage to get was the end to 18% of a bunch of tax cuts that were supposed to expire three years ago--the remaining 82% of those tax cuts--which the Republicans were scared to talk about in 2001 because they knew of the effect on the deficit--are alive, well, and feeding the greed of the rich in this country. Frankly, I'm a bit sick of paying part of John Boehner's tax bill for him.
Steve March 08, 2013 at 12:21 PM
How does somebody who believes i keeping Social Security and Medicare intact classify as the "Far Left." My father died at age-96 after 31 years on Medicare and 36 years on Social Security, both of which he gladly accepted while calling himself a "staunch conservative." He paid in a tiny fraction of what he got out of both systems because he always worked at relatively low-paying jobs. He voted for Barry Goldwater and defended Richad Nixon to his death. But, according to you, he was a member of the "Far Left." Nonsnese.
Steve March 08, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Yeh, he was so radical that he refused to compromise when he extended the Bush Tax Cuts for two year; and when he allowed a raise in capital gains taxes from 15% to 20% instead of 39.5%; and when he allowed the hedge fund managers to keep calling their "income" "carried interest" instead; and when he only managed to cancel out 18% of the Bush Tax Cuts, rather than the entire 100%. Real radical there--NOT! Why do you think the liberals are about fed up with him, too?
Dad of Three March 08, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Boy you are totally misinterpreting what I wrote, Steve. Protecting Social Security and Medicare (and that's not to suggest there couldn't be some reforms, by the way, as long as they would not materially affect current retirees or about-to-be's) is not a Far Left issue. Those of us who are centrists, as well as most conservatives and certainly all progressives, want to protect those two essential programs. But you can reform essential programs (as the US has done from time to time) and achieve some savings while protecting the most vulnerable. For easy example, there could be simple reforms, such as means-testing benefits, with triggers that clearly only to the higher end of incomes, and there could be reforms in what the cut-offs are to FICA wages. No, Steve, that's not a Far Left issue, and I never suggested it was. But there are plenty of loony left ideas out there, just as there are plenty of loony right ideas out there. We just witnessed one such demonstration of the loony right in what Rand Paul said and did on the floor of the Senate, only to be later criticized by staunch conservatives McCain and Graham.


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