White House details Wisconsin sequester cuts

GREEN BAY — Congress is getting closer to another deadline.

If lawmakers refuse to compromise and reach a deal by Friday, government agencies will have to begin reducing expenses by $85 billion over the next seven months.

According to a White House report, the state would lose nearly $29 million in federal funding and grants if the sequester happens.

Click here to see a complete list of effects on Wisconsin, according to the White House

The cuts could mean less money for teachers, financial assistance for students, childcare and the state's public health system.

The White House claims one of the areas that could be hit the hardest is education.

About $10.1 million in funding for education for children with disabilities will be cut. The White House says the funding loss would affect about 120 teachers, aides and staff.

The Obama Administration says the state's secondary and primary schools could lose another $8.5 million, putting about 120 teacher and aide jobs at risk, serving about 10,000 fewer students and about cutting the funding of about 50 schools.

Head Start would also be eliminated for about 900 Wisconsin children.

The White House report says the next largest cuts would come from $3.875 million in funding for clean water and air quality and $1.479 million worth of grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Without a deal, state public health services could see $2.04 million in cuts to money used for response to public health threats, substance abuse treatment programs and HIV testing. The state could also lose $173,000 for childhood vaccinations; about 2,500 could be affected.

Federal employees will also be impacted. Union officials representing federal prison employees say workers at the medium security prison in Oxford will be furloughed to cut costs.

"We can't furlough inmates, but apparently we can furlough staff,” said James Salzwedel in a phone interview with FOX 11. Salzwedel is the vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees Union Local 3495, which represents the prison employees. “And we're already running short-staffed of about 3200 correctional officers, nationwide."

In a statement to FOX 11, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson said:

"(The Bureau of Prisons) will schedule the potential furloughs to minimize the disruption within the prison facilities and will always maintain a minimum level of staff for security purposes. BOP will need to curtail inmate programs such as drug treatment and vocational education, which would lead to higher costs to taxpayers and communities in the long run."

And the control tower at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh could be shuttered – putting six contract employees out of a job.

The White House also says about 3,000 civilian Department of Defense employees in Wisconsin would be furloughed, saving about $12.4 million.

And if you’re looking for a job, it might get tougher to get some help. The White House says about $661,000 in funding for job search assistance could be cut, impacting more than 23,000 people.

The Obama Administration says seniors receiving meal assistance and college students receiving job help will also be impacted.

FOX 11 reached out to Green Bay Area Public Schools to see if it had any idea how the education cuts might impact our area; we were referred to the state Department of Public Instruction.

A DPI spokesman says the department is aware of the potential sequestration impact on the state districts, but how the impacts will be managed cannot be determined, yet.

Copyright 2014 WLUK TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Wisconsin (change)

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
Offices & Officials

Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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