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Sequestration's Impact on Montgomery County

The First in a Four-Part Series: Many of the county's programs will be hit by the federal government's potential budget cuts.

Congress is on the clock. If changes are not made by Thursday at midnight, those across the nation will be affected by sequestration. The automated budget cuts will deliver a hit to Montgomery County programs, affecting many in the area.

"Unless Congress acts by March 1, a series of automatic cuts — called the sequester — will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform," said a release from the White House.

The president has laid out his own plan for cutting the budget, but said that he is challenged in Congress.

"Unfortunately, many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so that we can protect investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe," said the release. 

How will these cuts hit home? Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the "hardest hit" states, according to Forbes, with a projected 78,454 job losses expected.

Montgomery County will be among the areas of the state to see change, should sequestration come to fruition. 

Frank Custer, director of communications for Montgomery County, said that "there will be several" effects of the cuts in our area.

"County residents will feel effects on a wide range of issues," said Custer. "A lot is tied to schools, teachers, education, and the county government does not have a lot to do with those programs."

However, Montco isn't safe from the proverbial ax.

"The county government itself will feel it in places like the public heath area," he said. "In Pennsylvania, we estimate we will lose $1.2 million in funds in public health areas."

Custer worries that such cuts would hurt programs like free HIV testing, offered by Montgomery County's Department of Health, or immunizations for children.

"It is estimated that 5,200 children will not be able to receive immunizations," said Custer. "That will affect the ability of our health department to meet those needs."

Currently, Montgomery County offers access for immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella, tetanus and whooping cough, as well as influenza, which may be jeopardized should sequestration cut their funding.

Programs providing nutritional assistance for seniors will also be hurt by cuts, according to Custer.

"Pennsylvania is to lose $850,000 in funding for meals for seniors, and that affects the County's ability to meet those needs," he said.

Overall, Custer said there are many areas where Montgomery County citizens may find shortcomings due to federal subsidization reductions.

"There are going to be wide-ranging effects," he said.

To take a closer look at these changes, Montgomery County Patch sites will be publishing a series called "Sequestration in Montgomery County." The four-part series of articles will take a closer look at each of the major changes local residents will notice as a result of Sequestration impacts.

Come back to Patch each day this week for more on this developing series.

Gamecock fan February 25, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Totally DISGUSTING!!! These 535 self-serving morons cannot reach a compromise. As long as they protect their personal interests they could care less about any one of us in the middle class or at the poverty level. We have officially become the Roman Empire. The only thing we are missing is the total collapse of our society due to GREED.
Keith Heffintrayer (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 08:39 PM
A comment was removed due to a violation of our Terms of Service agreement. Please refrain from using profanity when posting.
michael February 25, 2013 at 09:18 PM
i agree with you - washington - and harrisburg are both full of idiots that only do what they and thier parties what - not what the american people want - i say lock them in a room with 1 bathroom and nothing but beans to eat till they get this bs straighten out. then we will hopefully fire most of them with the next election, unless republicans try to fix it again.
Anthony Wayne February 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Imagine what might be written if real cuts to spending might occur. This money is cut from baseline budget increases, no actual cuts to real spending. The numbers are a drop in the bucket. Inside the beltway they are in a dream land and many americans actually believe their lies about what is really going on.
Mike Shortall Sr February 25, 2013 at 11:09 PM
As one who is threatened with the possibility of a furlough, after 33 years without a single day lost due to budget stupidity, I actually see a benefit in this ridiculous game of chicken. Let's not kid ourselves. We are all pawns in this game, either as the sacrificial lambs or as the constituencies one side - or the other - is hoping will become so enraged that the threat of its loss will spur the opposition into compromise. Frankly, I see this as a problem of The President's making. He won Round 1 when taxes were raised on the highest earners. But now he wants to "clear the bases" by ignoring his pledge to entertain substantive and effective budget cuts. He has no interest in touching the bloated entitlement system (along with necessary cuts to my employer, Department of Defense) which continue to drag on the Economy and build on the Nation's ridiculous level of debt! President Obama made it known, barely before the ink was dry on his Round 1 victory this past January, that he fully expects MORE revenue (i.e. higher taxes), and this time from those of us in the Middle Class! And this does not yet include those costs we will all soon see as added taxes and fees once the Affordable Care Act starts to ramp up for its 2014 grand opening! The President wants to have his cake and eat it too!
Gamecock fan February 26, 2013 at 12:24 AM
How do I teach my grandchildren to respect authority when the ultimate earthly authorities are so corrupt? This is not about any one politicians agenda to me. It is the ultimate disrespect of "the people"
jxjipper February 26, 2013 at 03:47 AM
No body will notice a thing unless Curious George decides to conciouslessly make people miserable. It was his idea. He gambled and will lose for a change. Hopefully take his ball and go home to the murder capital of the US and take the "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" Lady of the Peoples house with him. Sorry this is over most of your heads it didn't go to school round these parts.
katherine February 26, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Translation: Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!" The French Revolution - "let them eat cake!" Marie Antionnette
andthatsthetruth February 26, 2013 at 06:26 AM
Look at these important cuts that have been listed here.I actually thought that meals on wheels was provided by the lottery? Probably others did also. Bringing up the school districts is something that I all along have been about. These earnings are getting divinity up for
Richard Weisgrau February 26, 2013 at 06:34 AM
@ Mike Shortall, I agree with much of your opinion as written here, but the problem dates back about 2 decades and not just during the Obama administration. Let' not forget that the mortgage crisis was sparked when the Clinton administration pushed easy home ownership and a Republican Congress approved the means. Let's not forget when the Bush administration asked that seniors get pharmaceutical subsidies and two wars go unfunded by taxes, and Democrats agreed to both. The mess we are in, and i it a mess, is not the product of Presidents. It is the curse bestowed by members of the House and Senate over decades. Those legislators favored reelection over beneficial legislation. They got and get big pensions. We pay for them.
Adrian Seltzer February 26, 2013 at 02:37 PM
funny how those cuts have to be in health care and jobs and not any of the sacred cow wasteful programs of Congress that pays back their contributors.
Mike Shortall Sr February 26, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Richard: I wasn't really blaming Obama for the deficit/debt issue, only for pushing this manufactured sequestration crisis to the brink by refusing to address or to consider real spending cuts - as was supposed to result from the January cliff deal - and insisting that the problem can be solved through added revenues only.
John Myers February 26, 2013 at 03:15 PM
The sequester was the president's idea and now that his strategy didn't work out as he planned, he is shamelessly trying to using it as a political weapon. Do not the affected departments have any management decision making authority as to how the cuts are implemented? If they choose to allocate the cuts among the most widely used programs rather than the most discretionary, then the administration is at fault for failing act in the collective interest. The president's prediction of economic armageddon from a 2.2% reduction to a budget that has been increased by 37% in the past 5 years, is just not credible. And let's not forget that the Fed is also pumping $85 Billion of digitally created money into the economy EVERY MONTH...that's more than the entire sequester amount for the year!
barack owebama February 26, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I've run up $6 TRILLION in debt through my first term, and you suckers voted for more. Well I won't disapoint, hopefully I can spend our way past $20 TRILLION in debt before my 2nd term is up......almost forgot....blame bush....blame Repubicans....etc.
Sir Dude February 26, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Tell that to the 26,000 Defense employees (does not include other federal agencies) who will be making 20% less taxable income, and to the part time job seekers out there who will be competing for jobs with those furloughed federal workers who will be seeking ways to supplement their income. The same employees who are now on their third annual pay freeze - which really means paycut due to the increased cost of benefits. The cuts need to come from programs and pork spending on highways to nowhere, not off the backs of the people working for a living.
Sir Dude February 26, 2013 at 05:12 PM
A assume your "Curious George" comment was a thnly veiled reference to African Americans and monkeys. Classy.
Sir Dude February 26, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Pretty sure that was a little present from your Regan disciple, Gee Dub... or Gee I'm Dumb.
Ken February 26, 2013 at 07:55 PM
I find it hard to swallow that a 2% cut is going to cause all of this. It seems to me that if the government cannot cut 85B (38B of it is for this year) - they all need to be fired. Even with the sequestration cuts, they still are spending more than last year. Between increased payroll taxes & sky-high gas prices, I've been ponying up a lot more than 2% since Jan 1. The government is going out of its way to inflict as much pain as possible. What galls me is that they came up with this in the first place.. this was the 'grand bargain" that the President came up with, the house approved and he signed. What stooges.
Lee February 26, 2013 at 09:30 PM
So true Adrian! And notice the operative word here "potential" - we are all learning that the left right paradigm is at work against us. Even our nice media are falling for it, with headline after headline talking about cuts! Our country is spending more in 2013 than in 2012, explain how that adds up to cuts. They can't.
Lee February 26, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Yes, stooges with glorious vacation homes and endless benefits that they protect at all cost. And I am not envious! If things worked, fine go on vacation for two weeks in the middle of Feb, but our system is rotten and getting bigger every year. We are spending more in 2013 than in 2012, but I do not see that in a single headline.
James Kephart Jr. February 27, 2013 at 12:27 AM
At least we were smart enough to put in term limits after the masses continued to vote for FDR over and over again - even though he couldn't do much to pull us out of the depression: "The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then relapsed into a deep recession." Then we elected him again in 1940 and then again in 1944.
bobmattson2000@yahoo.com February 27, 2013 at 02:25 PM
The "Grand Bargain" proposed by the POTUS was turned by the house leadership. It did include cuts to entitlements. Why was it turned down? The crazies in the Tea party. Re gas prices: The Oil companies are realizing record profits. Why do the republicans want to protect a $500m subsidy to the same companies?
bobmattson2000@yahoo.com February 27, 2013 at 02:31 PM
I did go to school "around these parts" and your last sentence is further indication that you slept through grammar classes.
bobmattson2000@yahoo.com February 27, 2013 at 02:35 PM
The sequester was designed and proposed by the house leadership after they turned down the POTUS' "Grand Bargain" which included entitlement cuts. Look at the tapes, the speaker said that he got 98% of what HE wanted after the sequester was approved.
Mike Shortall Sr February 27, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Wrong, Bob ... The White House, specifically Jack Lew (then CHief-of-Staff and current Treasury Secretary nominee) broached the idea of sequestration first! Both The President and Senate Majority Leader Reid blessed the concept as part of the debt ceiling negotiations in 2011. http://patdollard.com/2013/02/top-democrat-admits-sequester-was-white-houses-idea/ http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/341553/obama-caught-lying-about-sequester-deroy-murdock You can try to blame the House Republicans for accepting it as part of those negotiations; but the idea was the White House's - and therefore The President's - brain-child!
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