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How Will the Sequester Affect Redwood City?

Unless Congress comes up with a solution by March 1, millions of dollars in spending cuts will impact California and its effect could trickle down locally.

Sequestration could begin in four days.

The word sends chills up the spine of many as Congress appears likely to allow $85 billion in government spending cuts to take effect on March 1, according to this explanation by The New York Times. California could lose close to $600 million in calculated budget cuts and the figure would grow, according to a report released by The White House on Sunday.

The cuts include $87.6 million to schools, $14.3 million to clean water and air protections, and $399.4 million to the Department of Defense, among others.

Military families, DOD civilian employees and even the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field.

Nutritional assistance programs for seniors statewide would be cut by $5.4 million, which could impact the Senior Center's food program.

There would also be cuts to vaccines for children statewide by $1.1 million.

 

Delayed Flights? 

The Federal Aviation Administration could also close several Bay Area air traffic control towers and flights into major airports like San Francisco's could face delays of up to 90 minutes.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta issued a letter to other aviation officials on Friday warning of the possible reductions as Congress decides whether to avoid the automatic spending cuts.

The sequestration is based on legislation last year that said if no compromise was reached by the congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, then $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will take place over the next decade.

The letter by LaHood and Huerta said those cuts would have a drastic effect on air travel, including the possible closing of more than 100 air traffic control towers nationally and elimination of overnight shifts at more than 60 others.

The proposed cuts could also mean one furlough day per pay period for the FAA's 47,000 employees, according to the officials.

Local air traffic control towers that could be closed include the ones at airports in Napa, Santa Rosa, Concord, Livermore, San Carlos and Salinas.

The shutdowns would begin as soon as April, according to the letter, which said the reduction in air traffic controllers on staff would mean delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours at airports in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and other major cities.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, denounced Congressional Republicans for not yet agreeing to a solution to stave off these potential cuts.

"These political games being played by the House Majority in Washington are costing real people their jobs here at home and unnecessarily putting people's safety at risk," Thompson said in a statement.

He said both the Napa and Santa Rosa airports would be forced to furlough or lay off a number of employees if those air traffic control towers close, even temporarily.

Thompson added that planes in both airports would be operating in uncontrolled airspace, while nearly all flights there currently are during controlled air times.

"Instead of this manufactured crisis, we need a balanced, bold plan that creates jobs, cuts spending, reforms our tax code so that everyone is paying their fair share and protects Social Security and Medicare. That's what I'm working for," he said.

Most agree that sequester is inevitable because Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to pay down the U.S. debt—government cuts versus raising taxes.

However Republicans don't believe it will be as tragic as the Obama administration makes it sound. This despite the Congressional Budget Office finding that the effects could slowdown the nation's economic growth.

--Bay City News contributed to this article

 

Are you worried about the sequester? Or do you think it will not happen at all? Share in comments!

 

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residentwithopinions February 26, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Lets not forget that Harry Reid has been unable to pass a budget for 3+ years, Obama loves spending other people's money and the republicans gave him his tax increases already. Now lets look into these cuts which is barely 2% of their total spending, 2 million is scheduled to be cut from an agency that does NOT exist! Our government is so wasteful already. We need some serious politicians to get into this gov of ours and stop wasting time on gun control and focus on our spending! We will be BK soon! A good place to start, why do the Obamas need separate vacations every 6 weeks? Airforce 1 costs US $180,000 per hour to operate!! Why did Michelle Obama really need to spend at least $20k of our tax dollars to appear on the oscars, with her fancy dress and hair and make-up crews?!?! No! The Obamas need to do their job, stay out of Hollywood, make a budget and take care of this country's citizens by putting us the hard working small business owners and the like first instead of themselves. I can't believe you all voted for them again......
Michael Craig February 26, 2013 at 08:28 PM
As my 10 year old daughter would say: "Really?" Every person in America and every business in America has made much more painful cuts than 2% and now the government can't even make this MINOR cut without the world ending??? To put it in perspective-it is about as painful as you and I giving up Starbucks 2-3 times a week! Of course Obama is spending money jet-setting across the US(over 5,000 miles so far on US Airforce 1) saying the sky is falling like Chicken Little. The rest of Americans like my 10 year old can only reiterate: "REALLY?!" The Sky looks OK to me. PS-Claudia-STOP being a shill for the Democrats and use your investigative journalistic prowess to ask questions versus spreading the Democrat talking points which amounts to spreading more LIES. Americans are sick of the LIES and Sick of the SPENDING!
Jim February 26, 2013 at 08:44 PM
So mandated cuts of less than 5% of the total budget, and taking into account that the budget increases YOY it's probably less than a 2% cut in last years budget. I guess we should expect civilization as we know it to end.
Lilia Ledezma February 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM
The Republicans already gave in on the revenue side, now Mr. President who LOVES spending other people's money needs to come to the table with reasonable cuts instead of campaigning around the country trying to scare people and push the Republicans to continue to give in and increase taxes even more. We ALL have cut our spending, why couldn’t he do the same with our Nation's money!!!!

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