Sequestration Would Cost New Jersey $135 Million Over Next Seven Months
Education and Income Security Programs Face Steep Cuts
Adam Kent contributed to this analysis
The looming across-the-board federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” were never intended to actually take place. The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) described sequestration late last year as “not the responsible way for our Nation to achieve deficit reduction” but rather “a mechanism to force Congress to act on further deficit reduction.”
Pass thoughtful deficit reduction, the logic ran, otherwise thoughtless cuts will begin in January of 2013. But January came and went without such congressional action. Instead, Congress agreed to delay sequestration until March 1 to allow for additional debate on more thoughtful deficit reduction. It remains to be seen whether Congress will act to avert or delay sequestration once again.
If Congress fails to act before the March 1 cuts kick in, sequestration will nationally impose $26.4 billion in cuts to nondefense, discretionary (NDD) spending in areas like education, health and employment/training this year.
But what does this mean for New Jersey? We analyzed this year’s NDD sequester cuts in New Jersey for all 136 federal programs that will be impacted.
All told, New Jersey will lose more than $135 million in federal funding for the remainder of this federal fiscal year (ending in September). New Jersey’s education programs take the biggest hit, losing over $60 million this year. Income security programs bear the second-largest losses – more than $35 million – while health programs lose about $12 million.
Education cuts account for nearly half of the all NDD sequestration cuts in New Jersey, and income security cuts account for another quarter. Health programs account for about 10 percent of the cuts, as do programs that support social services and community development. The remaining 10 percent of cuts is divided between energy/environment, employment/training, and justice, agriculture, and other smaller programs.
The education cuts primarily hit K-12 and special education programs, especially those targeted programs to help low-income students. More than 71 percent of education cuts – $44 million – target these programs. Early childhood education and care for infants and young children take the second greatest losses, accounting for about 18 percent of the education cuts. The remaining 11 percent of education cuts are split between adult education, higher education, and other smaller education programs (such as state libraries).
Among income security programs, nearly 60 percent of the cuts fall on New Jersey’s housing programs, which will lose more than $20 million. Nutrition programs also take a big hit this year, losing more than $7.1 million.
Congress Must Act Fast to Prevent Painful Cuts
Congress has only few days left to avoid these cuts to New Jersey programs and services. On the blog later this week, we will examine the full impact of these cuts on children and programs that increase economic opportunity.
Ezra Levin is a second-year Master in Public Affairs student at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. Prior to graduate school, Ezra worked on city homeless policy in AmeriCorps, spent three years working on domestic budget and social policy on Capitol Hill, and worked last summer on the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility team.
Adam Kent is a first-year Master in Public Affairs student at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. Prior to graduate school, Adam taught high school math in the District of Columbia Public Schools through Teach For America, and was a research assistant at the Urban Institute, where he worked on estimating how much the federal budget allocates to children.