Sequestration cuts threaten California’s comeback

by Steve Smith, California Progress Report

It’s been a good start to the year for California. We lead the nation in job creation. Our budget is balanced. Unemployment is dropping. Prop 30 stopped devastating cuts to our schools. While we still have a lot of work to dig out from the recession caused by Wall St. greed and excess, there’s no question that California is enjoying a major comeback.

But the California comeback could be short-lived if Republicans in Washington, D.C. continue this insane game they are playing with the so-called "sequestration" cuts. These automatic spending cuts would sap $500 million in federal funding from California putting priorities like education, health care and public safety at risk. The cuts could cost California 225,000 jobs.

According to a report released by the White House today, if the sequestration cuts are allowed to take effect, California will lose approximately $87.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 1,210 teacher and aide jobs at risk. Another $63 million in funding for children with disabilities will evaporate, leading to hundreds of job cuts for teachers, aides and staff who help those children. In addition, we’ll lose vital job placement and training funds, millions in military funding for our state’s bases and funds for crime prevention (including programs that help reduce domestic violence) and public health.

And these ill-advised cuts hit big states like California and New York much harder than anywhere else.

You’ll notice, these cuts have very little impact on big corporations and the wealthiest among us. Instead it’s working-class and middle-class Californians who are being asked to pay the price for the Republicans’ insistence on cutting Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits to pay for tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest 2 percent.

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