(SIOUX CITY, IA) - With just two days until sweeping federal budget cuts, local jobs are on the line.
We've been hearing about "the sequester" for weeks, but now we're looking into how those cuts could impact Siouxland. There are a number of programs on that list. Siouxland News talked with a business professor about what the sequestration means and how it affects all of us."The sequestration really is bad for the economy. It's bad for the American consumer. It's bad for the person who is working in the workforce," said Marilyn Eastman, a Briar Cliff Assistant Professor of Business. Things like early childhood education and healthcare are at risk. Head Start is one of the programs on the sequester list. In Sioux City, it said it hadn't heard anything about funding, but it said they will do whatever it takes to keep all of the children it serves. "Head Start is super important if we want to have our kids have really good day care and learn things from an early childhood standpoint," said Barb Work. If Head Start and Early Head Start services are eliminated, it could impact approximately 1,110 children total in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. "We're in this situation because Congress could not come to an agreement on spending cuts and tax increases and create a deal," explained Eastman. Public health is also on the chopping block. Siouxland District Health said it doesn't know what to expect right now. Public Health threats, substance abuse grants and HIV testing would lose about $2.03 million in funding in all three states combined. We got that number by taking the total funding lost in each state in all three health care sections.
For instance, Iowa will lose about $291,000 in funds related to public health threats, $670,000 in substance abuse grants, and $61,000 in HIV testing. That total number is $1.02 million for Iowa. See links to each state's impact below. "I work for a non-profit here in town that provides health care and we just don't know what's going to happen with these cuts," said Work. "I don't believe they'll cut anybody. I don't think when you have a $15 billion dollar increase in federal budget, we're talking about a cut," said Kelly Ingenthron. Although "the sequester" is expected to kick in on Friday, Eastman doesn't think Congress will let the cuts last long. "Congress has shown that when their back is against the wall, they will come to some compromise. I don't think there will be significant economic downside to this," said Eastman.
The National Guard is another program that will face cuts. The 185th Air Refueling Wing says 240 of its employees will almost certainly be furloughed, beginning in April.
Public schools, public safety and environmental funding are also all on the list.
Here's a link to the sequester explained: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/21/balanced-plan-avert-sequester-and-reduce-deficitA break down of impacts in Iowa: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Iowa.pdfNebraksa: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Nebraska.pdfSouth Dakota: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/South-Dakota.pdf