Sequester Cuts Continue to Impact North Carolinians
NEWPORT, N.C. - The sequester remains a black cloud looming over the agencies in North Carolina that serve people who need help the most. As a result of the mandated federal cuts, programs such as Meals on Wheels in Wake County have seen a $75,000 cut and the Head Start Program in Carteret County saw a $261,000 cut to its budget.
Paula Dickson, executive director, Coastal Community Action, said the cuts are chipping away at early-childhood education programs that already were unable to meet all the needs in the community.
"When you add these cuts onto that, that means that there are a lot of eligible children that are not being served," she said. "It's frightening."
Dickson said her organization's Head Start program had to cut 18 slots for children. Durham's Partnership for Children had to cut 22 Head Start slots and almost as many Early Head Start spaces.
Allan Freyer, public policy analyst, North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, has been studying the cuts caused by sequestration. He said funding levels for "domestic discretionary initiatives" such as Head Start, Meals on Wheels and other programs match the amount spent in the 1950s - when adjusted for inflation.
"We're trying to address, then, a 21st-century economy with a 1950s level of spending, and that just doesn't make sense for anybody," Freyer said.
Dickson said the cuts dictated by sequestration come at a time when demands on her agency and others are actually increasing.
"If anything, the needs are more because other things are being cut," she said, "which means that families have more needs."