A budget deal appears unlikely before Congress’s self-imposed Friday deadline, as NPR has reported. If Congress does not postpone cuts, automatic sequestration is set to take effect by midnight. President Barack Obama, who blamed Republican lawmakers for the impasse during a press conference Friday, must sign the sequester order by midnight, according to the law Congress passed last year.
To put things in context, Indiana Business Research Center Director Timothy Slaper says the state’s defense industry will likely be hit the hardest. In addition, while low-income Hoosiers could take the brunt of the impact, sequestration should only be a “bump in the road” for the Indiana’s economic recovery.
But those cuts could still be severe in some areas, and many agencies still do not know exactly what the effects will be. The White House issued a report last weekend breaking down the impact the sequester would have on Indiana within the next year. Below are those numbers along with details from the impacted agencies on how those cuts would likely be implemented.
Indiana would lose $13.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education. That could impact 190 teacher and aides. However, no school district would lose more than 3 percent of their total revenues because of the automatic cuts. Indiana’s cut is also relatively small compared to the rest of the country.
Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Indiana will lose approximately $12.4 million in funds for about 150 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities, the White House says.
As StateImpact Indiana reports, special education programs would feel a deeper impact than most other education programs. By law, local districts must still fund those services even if those dollars fall victim to the automatic spending cuts coming at year’s-end.
Work-Study/Financial Aid: Around 2,170 fewer low-income students would be eligible for financial aid, and another 1,020 fewer students will no longer qualify for work-study jobs. Those cuts will likely come disproportionately across various campuses. Around 75 jobs will be eliminated across Indiana University’s satellite campuses.
Head Start: Indiana Head Start would lose a funding amount that’s roughly equivalent to what they need to support about 1,000 students, as StateImpact Indiana reports. However, that does not mean sequestration cuts would send 1,000 students home right away. Programs would likely continue until money runs out, then shut down early for the year.
Pollution Prevention: Indiana would lose $3.3 million to fund anti-water and air pollution programs, according to the White House. Some of those include monitoring pesticides and hazardous waste. A spokesperson from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management says the department has not received any confirmation from the Environmental Protection Agency on the numbers. When WFIU asked the EPA about the cuts, officials there referred to the White House report.
Approximately 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees could be furloughed, the White House report shows.
Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $1.7 million in Indiana, the White House says. That is in line with an Army report that was released last week.
Air Force: The White House says funding for Air Force operations in Indiana would be cut by about $7 million. Indiana National Guard spokesperson Cathy Van Bree said in an email Friday she anticipated cuts of $7 million between both the Army and Air Force. Savings would be found by furloughing 1,000 Army and Air National Guard military technicians.
Navy: The Indianapolis Air Show has been canceled because of cuts to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly in the Shinersfest in Evansville. Festival officials say they are waiting to learn more about sequestration before deciding whether to cancel the event.
The sequestration will cut about $683,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement. The White House says that equates to around 24,290 fewer people receiving services.
After a back and forth between Indiana and the Department of Labor over unemployment benefits, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Friday it would continue federally extended benefits at the normal level until Saturday, March 30, then reduce them by 10.7 percent.
State Department of Health: Cuts of $189,000 are being made to vaccination programs, which equals enough vaccinations for around 2,770 children. The state could also lose approximately $619,000 in funds that would have been used to upgrade programs aimed at addressing public health risks. The state would also lose $1.7 million in grants for substance abuse programs, and the Indiana State Department of Health will lose about $146,000 for HIV tests.
The Indiana State Department of Health could not give any more specifics of how such cuts would be implemented.
“The Indiana State Department of Health will continue to work to fulfill its mission of promoting and providing essential health services,” spokeswoman Amanda Turney wrote in an email. “Like other affected agencies, we are currently evaluating the impact these potential budget cuts may have.”
Hospitals: Indiana hospitals could also see cuts of up to $844 million in cuts over 10 years (other numbers provided are over the next year alone). Medicare payments to providers will be cut by two percent, and sequestration could cause a loss of 16,500 health care and related jobs could be lost in Indiana by 2021, according to the Indiana Hospital Association.
“Medicare payments are already 50 to 60 percent of most hospitals’ revenue and these cuts are on top of the $3.6 billion in cuts already in effect under the Affordable Care Act,” Doug Leonard, IHA president, said in a press release. “In many communities throughout Indiana, hospitals are the largest employer as statewide hospitals employ more than 126,000 Hoosiers. Without policies that would help mitigate these federal cuts on hospitals like expanding coverage, the impact on jobs throughout Indiana could be significant and widespread.”
Domestic Violence Programs: Congress extended Thursday the Violence Against Women Act, but sequestration could cut $20 million from the program nationally. That’s the equivalent to about $138,000 in Indiana, the White House says. As WFIU reported, that means domestic violence assistance groups such as Middle Way House may need to significantly cut services.
Senior Assistance: Indiana would lose approximately $820,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
Child Care: The White House report states up to 600 children could be impacted by cuts to affordable child care programs.
The U.S. Attorney Office for the Southern District of Indiana says 5 percent to 8 percent of its office budget is set to be cut. That means prosecutors will likely be furloughed without pay roughly two days per month.