Unless something dramatic happens between now and Friday, it appears that budget sequestration cuts, designed to be so painful that they would force Republicans to compromise with Democrats, will go into effect.
The sharp cuts to military and social spending will decimate the economy, and could well throw the country back into recession. Its effects, though, will not be evenly distributed. Some parts of the country will see extreme cuts, while others will face significant, but less draconian cuts. While no state will escape unscathed, here are five states whose economies could turn very bad, very soon.
Texas would lose 52,000 jobs in civilian military furloughs alone. Military base funding would also be cut by $250 million. Texas will lose funding for senior nutritional assistance, education, Head Start and job search assistance, making it harder for those out of work to find a job. And $51 million in funding will be cut for educating children with disabilities.
Arizona will lose 10,000 civilian military jobs, and over 1,000 students will lose access to Head Start. In addition, Arizona will lose $2.1 million in environmental funding, and $1 million in funding for senior nutritional aid.
The Golden State will lose 64,000 civilian defense jobs, and another 2,000 education jobs will be put at risk. Additionally, almost 4,000 California students will lose funding for work-study programs. California will lose $12.4 million in grants to help people facing addiction, and 3,000 victims of domestic violence will go unassisted due to cuts in the STOP Violence Against Women program.
Florida will lose 31,000 civilian defense jobs and see $165 million in cuts to base operations, including funding for aircraft depot maintenance and four demolition projects in Pensacola. As in other states, job search assistance will be cut, as well as $3.8 million in aid to seniors. Additionally, over 1,000 educators could lose their jobs.
No state is more damaged by the sequester cuts than the Commonwealth of Virginia. Home to the Pentagon, Virginia would lose 90,000 civilian defense jobs and $154 million in funding for bases. In addition,†maintenance†of 11 naval ships will be delayed, as will four other projects, costing thousands more jobs in Norfolk, Dahlgren and Oceana.
Overall, the effects to the entire country look bleak — affecting everything from customs and border control to approval of new drugs to food safety to mental health. Still, for states with a large defense presence or high senior populations, the sequestration will be foolishly destructive. One would think House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., would be concerned that his state is facing the loss of more than 100,000 jobs due to Congressional inaction. One would think Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be screaming bloody murder. Indeed, one surprising voice demanding action comes from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who said on “Face the Nation,” “We [Republicans] donít like taxes. We donít like increasing taxes.†But we know we have to be pragmatic. We know there has to be some kind of compromise, but dang it, they need to get the job done.”
It is barely possible that demands from Republican governors could move the Republican House to actually work with the President to avoid disastrous cuts. For the sake of the economy, let’s hope so.