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R.I. Would Lose $40M Via Federal Cuts

A report released Sunday by the Obama administration details extreme cuts to education and military spending the state would see if the federal government fails to prevent sequester.

Rhode Island would see nearly $40 million in federal funds cut from several programs if Congress fails to act this week to avoid sequester — an $85 billion federal spending cut — the Obama administration said Sunday.

In a move designed to pressure Republicans into accepting new revenues as part of a deal to prevent the sequester from taking effect on Friday, the White House released reports that outlined how those cuts would impact individual states, The Huffington Post reported.

In Rhode Island, education and military spending would take the greatest hit, the report reads. The state would lose $2.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 30 teacher and teacher aide jobs at risk. Rhode Island also would lose about $2.1 million in funds for about 120 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities, the White House said.

The largest single cut would be to military spending. In Rhode Island, about 5,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $31.5 million. In addition, Army base operation funding would be cut by about $1 million.

The report detailed other programs and services on the chopping block in Rhode Island, including:

  • About 340 fewer low income students in Rhode Island would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 280 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college
  • Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 200 children, reducing access to critical early education.
  • Rhode Island would lose about $1.2 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, the state would lose another $359,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
  • Rhode Island would lose about $68,000 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 state would lose about $126,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 4,550 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment. 
  • In Rhode Island, around 530 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 $36,000.
  • Rhode Island would lose $101,000 to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases and natural disasters. 
  • The state would lose about $330,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 400 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. The Rhode Island Department of Health would lose about $61,000 resulting in around 1,500 fewer HIV tests.
  • Rhode Island would lose $188,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
  • Rhode Island could lose up to $22,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 100 fewer victims being served

After the reports were released, congressional Republicans criticized the Obama administration for the PR move, The Huffington Post reported.

“Rather than issuing last-minute press releases on cuts to first responders or troop training or airport security, he should propose smarter ways to cut Washington spending. After all, Washington spending, even with the sequester, is bigger than it was when he got here,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said."If I was the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I'd probably be freaked out," Walker told the Journal Sentinel, referring to that state's huge defense presence. "But we don't have big military bases (and) our military contractors have already started to account for this."

Unless Congress intervenes, the law requires the Obama administration to impose $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to military and domestic programs on Friday, according to The New York Times. Those cuts would be the start of $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade.

Dave February 26, 2013 at 04:38 AM
This is the lurid fairy tale spun by the Dems and in particular our President who refuses to acknowledge that we are borrowing money from China to feed our insatiable thirst for spending. This is the tried and true (because it works) strategy of every official confronted with unwelcome budget cuts, from the commander in chief to a local Mayor or Town Council: just scare the people, make up fairy tales about how a pea-sized cut of every THREE CENTS out of every $1 OVER TEN YEARS will result in massive pain. It is dishonest. If the sequester goes into effect, the federal budget for this year will still be larger than last year’s ($3.553 trillion in 2013 vs. $3.538 trillion in 2012). Don't believe that civilization will unravel... it won't. The problem is that the cuts should be targeted on waste, fraud and abuse... which exists in every facet of govt spending including defense... perhaps especially in defense. I, for one, will not be frightened by the scaremongers... I say bring it on...otherwise, there is no future for my grandchildren.
Dave February 26, 2013 at 04:41 AM
By the way this article is full of falsehoods. There will be no cuts... the funding will be equal to what was spent last year... there simply will be no RAISES in spending in some programs. Every employee for or user of every program will say the same thing regarding their particular program. So what. It will be difficult to run the program. Make cuts, make changes like the rest of us do to our budget every day based on the income we make.
Dave February 26, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Well, of course the Obama White House would be the author of these fairy tales... they are scaring people to get the GOP to cave.
RITaxpayer February 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Cut the POTUS pay along with the Senate and Congress pay at least 25%. Make them also pay for their healthcare or at least make a co-pay. There's a lot of waste in government (no secret) but all we hear about is planes falling out of the sky on 3/1/13, senior citizens left in snowbanks starving and dying, and lawlessness in the streets because all the cops and teachers will be let go. Let's call this what it really is...Claptrap and Drivel. Bring on the cuts!
Govstench February 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM
When you look at the state budget, which is bloated at $8+BILLION DOLLARS!!, the feds prop it up with $2.6 BILLION . The state is joined at the hip with the feds budget!! Considering the sequester is only trimming off less than 3% of the total federal spending, the impact won't be as severe as the WH keeps promoting. The state has and continues to be in a recession with double digit unemployment for FIVE YEARS!! Where is the leadership of this state? What are they doing about it? NOTHING! Of course the administration will scare the taxpayers with layoffs of teachers, firemen, police, air traffic controllers, etc. I say, "go ahead, DO IT - it was your idea all along - you wrote and signed the bill!"

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