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March Sequester Takes Nearly $23 Million from MO Schools

March 1 automatic budget cuts would cut education, nutrition programs and more    Courtesy of: AFSC
March 1 automatic budget cuts would cut education, nutrition programs and more Courtesy of: AFSC
February 27, 2013

ST. LOUIS - The sequester is scheduled to start kicking in on Friday. According to a new White House analysis, Missouri will lose nearly $23 million from education, and hundreds of teachers and special-education assistants could lose their jobs.

Republican leaders accuse President Obama of exaggerating the impact of the cuts, but Mary Zerkel with the American Friends Service Committee's Wage Peace Campaign said domestic spending shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the cuts.

"It is going to hurt people," she said. "And these programs have already sustained cuts, I think, like 17.9 percent cuts in the 2010-2012 period, while the defense budget more than doubled since 1998."

Defense spending makes up a much larger share of the budget than education and other social programs, Zerkel said, which is why she thinks it has more waste to cut.

Chris Hellman, a research analyst for the National Priorities Project, agreed that there is much more fat to trim from the Defense Department.

"The Congressional Budget Office has looked at the defense budget and said, 'Even if you put sequestration into place with regard to defense, it would only return spending to the levels that they were in 2006.' And those are high by historical standards," Hellman said.

The White House analysis predicted the automatic spending cuts would result in the layoffs of 8,000 civilian Defense Department employees in Missouri.

The White House statistics for Missouri are online at whitehouse.gov, and additional information is at costofwar.com.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MO