What will sequestration mean for Washington state?

It's not looking good for military contractors, students or teachers.
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Stacks of money can be yours, without having to risk your own.

It's not looking good for military contractors, students or teachers.

The biggest impact on Washington from federal sequestration will be the military cuts, according to state and federal figures provided by the office of Gov. Jay inslee. 

According to preliminary White House and state estimates, roughly 29,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees in Washington state will likely be furloughed (put on unpaid leave) once sequestration budget cuts take effect. That would amount to a total cut of about $173 million; $124 million of that in U.S. Army funding. The effects of this are likely to expand beyond military, too: When people spend less money, sales tax revenues go down.

The state government is still sorting out the effects of sequestration, the $85 billion in arbitrary budget cuts that began last Friday after Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on an overall budget, so the dollar figures and calculations of the effects are not yet final.

The cuts that don't take effect immediately will be phased in at the beginning of the state or federal fiscal years, depending on how individual programs are funded. The state fiscal year begins July 1st; the federal fiscal year, not until October 1st.

Below is a hodgepodge of predicted effects of the federal sequestration on Washington. Numbers are approximate:

  • $11.6 million in lost federal education money would put 160 teachers' and teachers aides' jobs at risk.
  • 440 low-income students would lose their college aid. Another 180 would lose their right to work-study jobs to help pay for college.
  • 1,000 children would lose access to Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
  • 800 children would lose access to daycare. 
  • 2,850 fewer children would receive immunizations for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, flu and Hepatitis B.
  • 3,800 fewer people would be admitted to substance abuse programs.
  • 4,300 fewer people would receive free HIV testing.
  • 500 domestic abuse victims would lose services.
  • The state Employment Security Administration would lose the equivalent of 100 full-time employees by mid-2014.
  • 1,300 low-income families would not receive energy-efficiency improvements to their homes.
  • 10,000 people would lose some assistance from the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program.

The Republican-oriented state Senate is scheduled to unveil its proposed 2013-2015 budget in late March, while the Democrat-dominated House is expected to release its proposal in early April. Both will take the new federal cuts into account.



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About the Authors & Contributors

John Stang

John Stang

John Stang is a freelance writer who often covers state government and the environment. He can be reached on email at johnstang_8@hotmail.com and on Twitter at @johnstang_8