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White House Outlines How Budget Cuts Could Impact Massachusetts


Education and the military would take among the biggest hits in Massachusetts from the automatic cuts to the federal budget  that are  scheduled take hold this week absent a compromise between the White House and  Congressional Republicans.

The White House Sunday issued a report that said sequestration, as the budget cuts are called, would result in about 7000 civilian defense department workers being furloughed, reducing gross pay by more than $43 million.   Funding for military base operations would be cut by about $13 million.

The mayor of Chicopee, Michael Bissonnette is concerned about the impact at the Westover Air Force Reserve Base, where more than 5500 people work.  The base put more than $240 million in pay roll into the local economy last year.

The White House said Massachusetts also stands to lose $13.9 million for primary and secondary education putting 190 teacher and aide jobs at risk.  160 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities could lose their jobs, and 11hundred children would  be dropped from Head Start programs.

TheWhite House report said Massachusetts would also see a $4 million cut in funding for clean water and clean air programs. Also on the chopping block are funds to support law enforcement ,public health initiatives, job training, and meals for seniors.

The numbers come from the White House budget office and several federal agencies. The state by state breakdown is intended to bring more pressure on Congress  to act by Friday to avoid triggering a total of  $85 billion in cuts that would take effect from March to September.

Massachusetts Senator Mo Cowan believes compromise is still possible.

Cowan, along with the rest of the all Democratic Massachusetts Congressional delegation argues for what he calls a balanced approach to resolving the budget stalemate.

Its been suggested the states could move some money around to cover the federal cuts.  Massachusetts fiscal leaders estimate state revenue will grow by $800 million in the next fiscal year, without an increase in tax rates, according to State Senator Michael Knapik a Republican member of the Ways and Means Committee

Governor Deval Patrick warned over the weekend that the federal budget cuts could stall the state’s economic recovery, which has been more robust than the rest of the country.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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