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L.A. County Could Lose Millions in Federal Funds

Federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, will cause Los Angeles County to lose millions for social services and public safety programs, officials predict.

A substantial federal budget approved by President Barack Obama on Friday could stop the flow of millions of dollars to services across Los Angeles County unless Congress acts to stop it.

U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal warned last week of sequestration impacts on Long Beach. And California State University, Long Beach, and Long Beach City College could both see cuts to student aid programs, according to a report by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

But Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander said beyond student aid cuts, the California economy is at risk. 

“I’m primarily concerned with the indirect effects of sequestration on California’s economy,” said Alexander in a statement Friday. “Across the board federal cuts to research programs, student financial aid and other important services could ripple out and stymie that growth. 

“The governor’s budget is predicated on the basis that our economy is beginning to grow. Sequestration could shatter that economic scenario and push California back toward recession-era budget cuts,” he said. “If this were to happen, Governor [Jerry] Brown’s efforts to provide moderate and gradual re-investments in our universities could fail to become a reality."

The budget cuts, known as sequestration, were part of a deal struck between the White House and Congress in 2011 on the raising of the national debt limit. Democrats were in favor of voting to raise the debt ceiling, but Republicans wanted spending cuts in return. Sequestration will end in 2021 and is projected to lower the deficit by $1.2 trillion.

Part of President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit calls for an increase in taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent in addition to spending cuts, but many Republicans oppose it.

Three Los Angeles County departments will see an across-the-board budget reduction of about 5.3 percent and be forced to make cuts to programs like those for affordable housing under the HOME Investment Partnership; rent subsidies for low-income, disabled and senior citizens under Section 8; and public safety programs under the Community-Oriented Policing and Byrne Justice Assistance grants.

The cuts represent less than 1 percent of the more than $5.4 billion in federal funds L.A. County received last year, according to officials. Most of the federal money the county receives is sequestration-proof and protected for low-income programs like Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The Obama administration last Sunday released a detailed report with information on how the sequester would affect each state. According to the report, California schools will lose about $87.6 million in federal funding, putting some 1,210 teachers and aides out of work. Financial aid would no longer be available for 9,600 low-income college students; some 3,690 work-study jobs would be eliminated and 8,200 children would be without early education, according to the report.

“Over time,” Alexander said, “California families could personally experience the long-term outcomes of today’s sequestration and the unfortunate political grid lock that continues to exist in Washington, D.C.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

John B. Greet March 02, 2013 at 10:20 PM
The abject fear-mongering on the part of many (including Rep. Lowenthal) concerning the sequestration is nothing new and has little basis in reality. At the end of the day, the only thing that will be cut will be the *rate of growth* of federal spending. At the end of the day these cuts represent just 0.03% of our GDP. Federal spending next year will still outpace that of this year, just not at the rate tax & spendaholics like Rep. Lowenthal and many others would prefer. Even if some federal employees and contractors are furloughed or some programs cut (as they have been during past budget "crises") personnel would ultimately receive back pay when they returned and programs would resume with increases (as they *always* have during past budget "crises.") The nation did not collapse in the past, and, despite all of the dire predictions, it will not collapse this time either. There are millions of dollars in *proven* fraud, waste, duplication, and other abuse throughout the federal government, but rather than use the sequestration as an opportunity to address *that* some politicians are capitalizing on this situation to score political points. Does anyone even think to ask whether the Fed should be subsidizing things like local police, public housing, or public education at *all*? I have reviewed and reviewed my copy of the Constitution and I have not found these authorities listed anywhere.
Dave Newell March 03, 2013 at 08:08 AM
Actually, I believe that our Founding Fathers gave that power to the local governments, i.e. state and townships, the ability to tax locally to pay for those services. Also remember, about 110 years ago the majority of federal taxes were paid by agricultre, lawyers and small business owners. America was not yet an automated, mass production, corporate driven society. Very few social programs existed.thereby leaving the everyday Joe who worked for Sam at the butcher shop with all the money he earned without being taxed 22-45% of his earnings. But then came the robber barons of mass production, and then the depression. FDR instituted social programs and somehow convinced the legislature that the taxes made from the people would far outweigh those from corporate America. And thus was born the corporate tax benefits, which we do not enjoy as private citizens. Perhaps it IS time we look at a fair and equal system of taxation where exemptions both corporate and private do not exist. Would it lead to a federal sales tax? Maybe. Would it have a directy effect on John Q. Public? Yes. But if anyone wants to see our economy and society grow to that grand old Voctorian Age where America was one large middle class society, we need to stop supporting corporate America and support local businesses. Remember, America's strength is now measured on the average consumer's spending power. Not in the future they build for themselves.
Luis March 03, 2013 at 02:52 PM
The same old litany of conservative talking points and some historical innaccuracies posted as authority and wisdom. As always the sequestration will hurt those who are already hurting and struggling to make a living. During the Victorian age (why we called it a Victorian age here in the U.S. is beyond me since she wasn't our Queen). We actually had more inequality in the U.S. between the rich and poor and we are approaching those levels today. The fact is that Obama and the Democrats have reduced the debt to its lowest since before Bush. Federal spending is lower as a percentage of GNP too. We are in austerity mode now and you can see what this has done to Europe and other places where this has been tried. These cuts will have an impact on everyone if not now then just wait a few months. The sad part is that the cuts are not needed and serve no purpose other than to discredit the President for purely politcal gain.
John B. Greet March 03, 2013 at 06:21 PM
The same old liberal falsehoods and deflections. "The fact is that Obama and the Democrats have reduced the debt to its lowest since before Bush." This is false. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamas-now-added-6-trillion-national-debt_704980.html "Federal spending is lower as a percentage of GNP too." Yes, not because spending is decreasing but because our economy is slowly rebounding from the recent recession, despite all efforts from the left to prevent it. Further, "GNP" is the total market value of goods and services produced by the residents of a country, *even if they’re living abroad.* While "GDP" is the total market value of goods and services produced *within the borders of a country*. Many liberals prefer to cite the GNP because it artificially inflates the domestic economy to make it appear more robust than it actually is. Regardless of the measure, federal spending *increased* this year over last year and will continue to increase. "We are in austerity mode now..." This is false. Annual federal spending is currently at $3.8 trillion and climbing. Last year it was $3.6, in 2014 it is projected to be $3.9, in 2015 $4.1. This is not "austerity" by any sane measure. "The sad part is that the cuts are not needed and serve no purpose other than to discredit the President for purely politcal gain." Then why did he, himself, propose the sequester and why did he say he would veto any attempt to prevent these automatic cuts?

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