Cuomo Sees Federal Budget Cuts Effect on New Yorkers

By Michael Virtanen
|  Monday, Mar 4, 2013  |  Updated 9:59 AM EDT
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Cuomo Sees Federal Budget Cuts Effect on New Yorkers

AP

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

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The federal budget fight forcing across-the-board spending cuts will affect individual New Yorkers including students and seniors but won't have as big of an overall effect on state government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The dispute, known as the sequester, is between Democratic President Barack Obama, who wants to combine some spending cuts with tax hikes for the rich, and the Republican-led House that has ruled out tax hikes.

"The sequester discussion has already affected New Yorkers in my opinion," Cuomo said before the cuts began on Friday. "The brinksmanship of government I don't think is the way to do business. ... It's destabilizing. It creates anxiety. And we want government to do the exact opposite."

The White House bets that once the public begins to experience the effects of the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts, the pain will be unbearable enough to force lawmakers to reconsider and negotiate. Much of the impact won't be felt for weeks or months; others, like possible teacher layoffs, wouldn't happen until the new school year in the fall.

"It'll have some effect on the state government but more would be about people, and people losing assistance who need it, students, seniors, et cetera," Cuomo said.

Among some of the potential effects in New York:

— About 12,000 civilians who work for the Department of Defense would be furloughed.

— Funding for the operation of Army bases would be cut $108 million.

— Primary and secondary schools would lose about $42.7 million, putting around 590 teacher and aide jobs at risk.

— Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 4,300 children.

— About $12.9 million would be cut for clean water and air quality, as to prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.

— About $1 million in cuts to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events.

— About $5.7 million to prevent and treat substance abuse.

— Almost $1.5 million for meals to senior citizens.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said local governments are already struggling and also criticized the political gridlock.

"Continued uncertainty over sequestration only heightens the threat to health care, education, transportation and other essential services," he said. "New York State faces the loss of billions of dollars in federal aid over the next few years if Congress fails to reach an agreement to avoid draconian cuts."

The comptroller's office said it isn't clear what the immediate effect would be on federal payments to the state.

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