For immediate release
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Automatic Federal Budget Cuts Could Slash Approximately $2.3 Million in Essential Services in Columbus
Mayor Michael B. Coleman is urging both parties in Congress to work together toward a solution that would avoid the automatic across-the-board budget cuts triggered through the Budget Control Act of 2011. If the automatic cuts—known as sequestration—take place Columbus residents will lose about $2.3 million in neighborhood and human services this year. Columbus would also see hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost city income tax revenue.
“Republicans and Democrats must come together to avoid this budget crisis and to protect our neighborhoods and our most vulnerable citizens,” Mayor Coleman said. “Rather than slash the federal budget in a random, thoughtless manner, Congress should take a reasoned and balanced approach to reducing our deficit.”
Among the impacted services are:
Public Health: Core public health programs at federal health agencies could be cut by more than 8 percent. For Columbus, this adds up to a reduction of more than $900,000 a year to local programs that would threaten our ability protect the public’s health. Funding decreases would result in:
- 5,000 fewer families served by the Women, Infants and Children program;
- 1,248 fewer infants and children receiving protection through the Immunization Action Plan;
- 1,000 fewer HIV tests through HIV prevention services;
- 110 fewer HIV patients assisted through Housing Options for People with AIDS;
- 312 fewer women receiving prenatal care;
- 150 fewer women receiving family planning services;
- 85 fewer pregnant and parenting women served through the Caring for 2 program;
- 300 fewer women dealing with domestic violence helped through faith-based and community partners ;
- 89,310 fewer residents receiving services to prevent chronic disease through Creating Healthy Communities;
- And less preparation for disasters and public health emergencies.
Jobs and Workforce
If sequestration is applied proportionally across the state, it could mean that the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation could see a reduction of about $434,480, negatively impacting almost 2,000 fewer job seekers. That would be a 13 percent drop from current service levels and a significant potential loss of almost $68.5 million in wages to our local economy. While the implications and actual funding cut levels are still unknown, the National Skills Coalition lists the following results of further cuts:
- Reduction in training for job seekers;
- Fewer services for employers seeking skilled workers;
- Fewer services for those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer;
- Reduction in access to WIA youth services at a time when youth unemployment rate is twice the overall unemployment rate;
- Cuts in adult basic education programs;
- Cuts in employment programs serving at-risk youth;
- Reduction in vocational rehabilitation services for workers with disabilities.
Housing and Neighborhood Development
Based on anticipated grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Columbus could see a reduction of almost $883,000 in housing and neighborhood assistance. In his testimony on Feb. 14, 2013 Secretary Shaun Donovan said the following programs could see reductions in:
- Section 8 housing vouchers;
- Funding for emergency shelters;
- Programs offered under the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control;
- Homebuyer and foreclosure prevention counseling;
- Reduction to HOME funding for the rehabilitation and new construction of affordable homes, emergency home repairs, and down-payment assistance for qualifying homebuyers
- Reduction to Community Development Block Grants, which supports code enforcement, homeowner rehabilitation and repairs and small business loans.
The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging estimates a 9 percent reduction in Older Americans Act funds if a budget agreement is not reached. That would equate to approximately $450,000 dollars lost throughout Central Ohio, $212,000 of which would be lost for services provided within the City of Columbus. In Columbus alone, that would include:
- 19,100 fewer home-delivered meals
- 9,800 fewer congregate meals
- 1,800 fewer rides through transportation units
- 1,000 fewer homemaker hours
The Department of Defense has announced that it will be instituting a 22-day furlough for all civilian workers beginning in April. This will directly impact the City through the furlough of 9,000 employees at DSCC in Whitehall, both through lost income tax and curbed spending by residents in the local economy.
Additionally, the city anticipates potential cuts in low-income and senior energy assistance, small-business loans and brownfield remediation.