Kansas will lose at least $79 million in funding for the states military bases and face about $10.8 million in cuts to education this year if Congress and the president cant reach agreement to head off automatic budget cuts scheduled to begin Friday, according to a new White House report.
Those and other Kansas-specific cuts part of the national sequestration debate are detailed in a state-by-state report released by the White House Sunday evening.
Staffs for Kansas two senators and Wichitas House representative were reviewing the numbers Monday and said they think there may be less painful ways to implement cuts than what the White House has described.
Washington should be more than capable of cutting less than three percent of its nearly four trillion dollar budget, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Dodge City said in an e-mail. In fact, considering our staggering national debt and the dramatic increase in federal spending under President Obama, we should be able to cut more. However, these savings wont be achieved through bully pulpit scare tactics and localized threats via White House press release.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, who also responded to questions via e-mail, had a similar reaction to the White House report.
This small dose of fiscal discipline will need not result in the calamities President Obama is suggesting, Pompeo said. It simply requires leadership. Every day, Kansas small businesses have to figure out how to survive with lower revenues and drops in sales and, goodness knows, higher costs because of this presidents regulations.
The Kansas-specific cuts detailed in the White House report include:
Military spending A $78 million reduction in operating funds for the states Army bases plus $1 million for Air Force operations. The report said 8,000 civilian employees would be given unpaid furloughs, reducing gross pay by $36.7 million. The report was not clear on whether the furloughs would be included in the base operations cuts or in addition to them, and the White House press office was not immediately able to clarify that. If the furloughs are in addition to the base operations reduction, the military spending cut in the state would total $115.7 million.
Schools Kansas would lose $5.5 million in funding for elementary and secondary schools, which the White House said would put about 80 teacher and aide jobs at risk. The state also would lose about $5.3 million in funding for an additional 60 teachers, aides and staff who provide services to children with disabilities.
Head Start and child care Cuts would eliminate funding for approximately 500 children who attend early education programs and another 400 children of low-income working parents who receive assistance in paying for child care.
Higher education About 310 fewer Kansas students would receive financial aid for college and 140 fewer students would be offered work-study jobs to help pay for their education.
Senior nutrition The state would lose $209,000 that helps provide meals for elderly residents.
Environment Kansas would lose about $1.8 million in funding for programs to ensure clean air and water and to prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, the state would lose $772,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.