It now appears highly unlikely there’s going to be any 11th-hour solution to the federal budget crisis. The across-the-board so called sequestration cuts will have a profound impact on Florida and the state’s wobbly economic recovery.
Education programs will be hit especially hard. According to the White House, Florida’s education system is already under funded and, it will lose $54.5 million from sequestration, which will mean a loss of jobs for teachers and support staff. Education funding for children with disabilities, some of the students most in need, will be slashed. Low-income students in Florida will be disproportionately affected – an estimated 6,250 struggling students will lose financial aid for college tuition and 1,700 will lose work study jobs.
Don't be fooled, we have already reduced the deficit by a huge amount. Total cuts so far have totaled about $2.4 trillion, with $1.5 trillion coming from spending cuts, $300 billion from interest savings, and about $600 billion from revenue increases totaled about $2.4 trillion, with $1.5 trillion coming from spending cuts, $300 billion from interest savings, and about $600 billion from revenue increases.
Non-defense discretionary spending, such as public education, is already set to decline to its lowest levels on record, even without the across-the-board cuts. Instead of asking working Americans to unfairly bear the brunt of fixing our economy, Congress needs to come up with solutions that invest in our future and put Americans back to work. Further cuts will dramatically reduce economic growth and cost upwards of 1 million jobs, including the jobs of 50,000 educators leading to a direct impact on students with disabilities and students in high poverty communities – the very students who need the most attention.
It is important to remember that every dollar cut has a real-life consequence for our children, our families and for the people who teach, heal and nurture them. We are talking about the difference between helping a child succeed and letting that child fall further behind in the classroom; making sure parents have affordable and accessible childcare and early childhood education options; making sure children and families have a roof over their head and food on the table.
By pushing for deep cuts, the unmistakable legacy of some lawmakers is that they chose corporations over students, cuts over jobs, and politics over compromise. Congress needs to find a responsible, balanced and permanent approach to avoid inflicting further pain on students, families and communities while demanding the rich and corporations to pay their fair share.