Sequester could mean local cuts - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Sequester could mean local cuts

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Congress was back in session, Monday, and lawmakers are facing an important deadline.

Friday, $85 billion in automatic budget cuts kick in unless an alternative agreement can be reached.

If the cuts take place, analysts say it could mean furloughs for federal employees, longer waits at airports for travelers, and closed national parks.  And there could be local impact to the cuts, as well.

The federal government funds a lot of programs so chances are something you favor could see some sort of a budget cut.

In Toledo, federal grant money funds everything from putting about a dozen cops on the street
to fighting violence against women.

President Obama came up with the sequestration idea hoping to force Congress to work out a budget compromise.  But no compromise developed, so now $85 billion in cuts could be on the way.

"This is no way to run the government."

Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken (D) fears local Food Stamp and Head Start programs will suffer and that private contractors at the 180-th airbase in Swanton could lose money.

He says Washington politics creates a climate of panic and inaction.  "Quit the blame game," he told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann.  "Let's see something on paper.  We're the ones who have to live with it."

The City of Toledo may have to live with fewer federal dollars funding overtime for drug enforcement or catching speeders or even fixing roads.

City Finance Director Patrick McLean says there could be a ripple effect to these mandatory budget cuts.  "We could have less road construction that turns into less construction jobs, turns into less income tax revenue, turns into less general fund money," he said.

Other northwest Ohio towns face could suffer under the budget cutting axe.

In Perrysburg, federal transportation dollars helped build the Roachton Road project.  If cuts go through, similar projects in the future may not get built.

In Maumee, sequestration could mean Community Development Block Grant money may not be available so blighted houses that need repair may not get renovated for resale.

Ohio could lose $120-million in federal monies because of sequestration.

Director McLean says, "Federal dollars effect us and it's only when we start talking about those cuts that people start to think about it a little bit more."

And for the next four days, all Ohio towns and counties will think about federal dollars a little bit more.

Congress could still work out a deal and not every program could get cut.  Those that see cuts would not get wiped out. 

But right now, uncertainty on what will be cut is perhaps the cruelest part of this debate. 

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