Facing another deadline

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 04:05 AM

It seems we are in the same position we found ourselves in a matter of weeks ago.

While rhetoric and finger-pointing remain part of the dance, Congress is, yet again, waiting until the last minute to decide what to do about across-the-board budget cuts.

The term "sequestration" has been thrown around more in the last three months than "Obamacare" has been in the last two years.

Regardless, here we stand, scant days before a Friday deadline for the imposition of $85 billion in budget cuts which will take effect from March through September.

The Associated Press compiled a list of what the sequestration means, if enacted, for the State of North Carolina. Here is what they came up with based on information from the White House budget office:

Education:

— About $25.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 350 teacher and aide jobs at risk.

— About $16.8 million in money for 200 teachers, aides and staff that help teach children with disabilities

— Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 1,500 children.

Environment:

— About $3.6 million in environmental funding.

— About $1.3 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military and Law Enforcement:

— About 22,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $117.5 million in total.

— About $136 million for Army base operations in North Carolina.

— About $5 million for Air Force operations in North Carolina.

— Aircraft depot maintenance would be canceled in Cherry Point.

Health:

— About $243,000 in reduced funding for vaccinations.

— About $911,000 in funds to help upgrade state's ability to respond to public health threat.

— About $2 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse.

— About $341,000 for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

— Up to $205,000 in funding for services to victims of domestic violence.

— About $1.5 million in funds that provide meals for seniors.

Now, there is some wiggle room based on the structure of some state budgets but the fact remains that sequestration will have a devastating outcome for North Carolina.

Over the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory took part in the National Governor's Association conference in Washington, D.C. where a variety of issues was discussed and sequestration was among those topics.

"I urged the President and Congress to use responsible budgeting based on priorities, not across-the-board cuts," McCrory said Monday in a statement from his office. "As governor, I will continue to be an advocate for North Carolina in our nation's capital on issues that will have an impact on the future of our state."

The time is now for Congress to finally put an end to the talk of sequestration. The White House and Republican leaders need to spend the next few days locked in a room and not let out until the matter is resolved.

This is not something that a continuing resolution will solve.

Compromise is key and it is time for our leaders to start acting like our leaders and less like partisan talking heads.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark