Sequester Effects On Minnesota

Posted at: 02/25/2013 6:34 PM
Updated at: 02/25/2013 6:38 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 News) -- The White House released details on how the sequester would affect each state and the spending cuts could have a serious impact on Minnesota.

"Well one of the most immediate places would be our Head Start program,” said Patrick Gannon, Executive Director of Childcare Resource and Referral.

442 children are in Head Start or Early Head Start programs in Rochester. But if sequestration were to take effect,

"If it's in the 8% sequestration cut, then we would have to stop serving probably in the neighborhood of 35 to 36 children and that could be 6 to 8 positions lost as well,” said Gannon.

According to the Obama Administration, 700 children would lose on Head Start and Early Head Start throughout Minnesota. Public health would also be affected. Minnesota would lose more than $507,000 to help with things like infectious diseases and natural disasters.

In addition, the state would lose nearly $1.2 million in grants to help with substance abuse and more than 3,000 fewer HIV tests would be available.

Job search assistance would also take a hit, losing close to $700,000 in funding. That translates to more than 23,000 fewer people getting the help they need to find a job. Teachers and schools would also lose a significant amount of funding to the tune of $7 million for primary and secondary education.

"For the Austin school districts, it means about $100,000 which you know it's a significant amount, but in the overall scheme of our 45 to 50 million general fund budget, it's a small amount, but it definitely impacts our bottom line,” said Mark Stotts, Director of Finance and Operations for Austin Public Schools.

With the deadline now just several days away, these groups are hoping for the best, while preparing for the worst.

"It affects real people and uh we have to be constantly sort of reworking budgets and planning for how we would work with that and it's very disruptive on multiple levels, not just the Head Start but for many programs, and many industries,” said Gannon.