The sequester was a proposal that was never meant to actually be put into place. It’s not a policy that will be beneficial to our state or its residents. Those who will be feeling the effects the hardest and worst will be the elderly, the young, the disabled, and the poor.
Maybe more than 15,000 civilian defense workers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord alone will face a furlough period that will consist of 22 non-paid days of leave between April and September. This change from a five-day work week to a four-day work week could cause some major economic issues within families, not to mention all the money it will take out of Washington’s economy.
Cuts being made to Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program and Head Start programs in the state will be sure to keep even more kids out of pre-k programs. In 2014 we’re already looking at budget cuts near $30 million for Washington K-12 public schools, most of which is designated for poor schools and disabled students. There will also be almost $1 million cut from post-secondary financial aid, meaning reductions in assistance for college students.
Foster kids under the care of Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) are part of a program that will see more than $2 million cut. DSHS programs for disabled people, including rehabilitation and employment plans, will also see a huge cut, $2.8 million. There will be $1.9 million cut from DSHS substance abuse programs, and almost half a million dollars will be cut from programs providing treatment, prevention, and assistance to mental health patients of Washington.
These cuts are going to cause way more problems in the long run than the money they will solve. Even just the cuts to DSHS will shift more and more people into hospitalization, homelessness, and the criminal justice system.
Millions of dollars will be cut from Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and food assistance programs, leaving thousands of families with less resources. Grants to improve public water will be cut, as well as funds to improve immunization. Home energy assistance will also be notably cut, leaving thousands of homes heatless.
By implementing this sequestration we are exacerbating problems and eliminating the possibility of any solutions.
On a national level, the sequester budget cuts are affecting the Department of Homeland Security already.
Until congress is able to come to an agreement about ways to tax wealth more effectively, the poor are going to have to sacrifice the scant amount of resources they have access to. Hopefully, they will be able to come up with something before the furlough period actually starts in late April.