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Can Alabama survive sequestration

Published 5:59am Saturday, March 2, 2013

The politicians in Montgomery are always quick to tell you how bad the federal government is, but those same politicians are more than happy to take federal money.

While I believe each state should be in control of its own destiny, the truth is that we depend on federal money to provide services that our state needs.

But if the U.S. Congress does not pass a budget that avoids sequestration by March 1, we may find out the hard way just how much we depend on federal money to get by.

Alabama could lose millions of dollars if we go into sequestration.

Those losses would affect everything from health and public safety to education and economic growth.

If sequestration goes into affect, Alabama will lose $11 million for primary and secondary education, plus another $9 million for education for children with disabilities. It will also put 260 education jobs at risk.

Additionally, up to 1,100 children could lose access to early education through the Alabama Head Start program, while another 500 hundred families could lose child care.

For those in college, nearly a thousand students will lose aid for their college education, and almost 300 students could lose their work-study jobs.

And education is not the only area that will suffer. Law enforcement, public safety and our military bases are on the chopping block, too!

Alabama could lose up to $230, 000 dollars for law enforcement and public safety grants, and almost $100 million dollars in cuts to the military bases located here. These losses would result in 27,000 federal employees being put on furlough and the loss of $176.9 million in income from our economy.

Alabama could also lose over a $100,000 for STOP Violence Against Women Program, which will mean 400 women will not be able to get the services they need.

Healthcare is another area that will take a hit.

As many as 2,110 children will not be able to get vaccinations, while the state could lose over a million dollars in grants to treat substance abuse, and over a half million dollars for public health threat response.

We could also lose $865,000 in funding to provide nutritional meals for seniors. And I haven’t even mentioned the losses to Medicaid, which receives more than two dollars in federal funding for every one dollar the state spends.

The reality is that Alabama depends on federal money to survive. The leadership in Montgomery is quick to throw around poll-tested campaign rhetoric about how the federal government doesn’t do anything right, but those same politicians are counting on those federal tax dollars to fund our state government without tax increases.

For better or worse, Alabama depends on our federal tax dollars coming back to us. The leadership in Montgomery should either be honest about that, or tell us how they plan to fund our government if we lose this federal money.

Because where we are right now, Alabama cannot survive sequestration.

 

Johnny Mack Morrow is a state representative for Franklin County.

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