sequestration

Derek DeVries / Grand Rapids Community College

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced legislation Thursday he says will close a number of tax loopholes. Levin sees the bill as part of a larger plan to reduce the federal deficit.

Levin says his bill would provide about $220 billion more in tax revenue over ten years.

Field of Flight facebook page

The effect of the federal budget sequestration can be seen this week at a popular air show in Battle Creek.

Or more accurately, won’t be seen.

Since the late 1980’s, the Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon festival in Battle Creek has featured high performance military aircraft.  Not this year.

The federal budget sequestration has grounded a lot of the aircraft the U-S military routinely sends to airshows.

levin.house.gov

We talk with Democratic U.S. Representative Sander Levin about the effects of automatic federal budget cuts on the Great Lakes region. Today, Levin met with members of the League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action in Clinton Township. 

 The federal budget cuts known as the sequester are hitting home across Metro Detroit.

That’s the message Congressman Sander Levin took on the road in his district Friday.

Levin met with seniors, defense industry employees, and hospital staff in Macomb County. All have been affected to some degree by the sequester.

At St. John’s Macomb hospital, a 2% cut to Medicare payments has taken a $4.5 million bite out of the budget. About 70% of the hospital’s patients are covered by Medicare.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Federal cuts to affect schools

"The state of Michigan doesn't plan to lay off any of its 48,000 workers because of automatic federal spending cuts. [But] federal education funding will drop $54 million and affect special education programs, after-school programs and aid for schools with more students in poverty," the Associated Press reports.

14 percent of lottery winners are on welfare or live with someone on welfare

Michigan has found 3,500 lottery winners, representing around 14 percent of all winners, who either got welfare or lived with welfare recipients. As the Associated Press reports, "Human Services Director Maura Corrigan says some lottery winners are no longer getting public assistance because of the law signed a year ago. But she says 'loopholes' still let lottery winners collect some Medicaid benefits."
 

Lansing Marathon ramps up security

"The two thousand runners expected to take part in this Sunday’s Lansing Marathon can expect to see tight security along the 26.2 mile course. The added security is in response to Monday’s deadly bombing at the finish of the Boston Marathon," Steve Carmody reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State officials say they don’t expect they’ll have to lay off employees due to the loss of $150 million dollars in federal funds this year and next. That’s how much the state is expected to lose because of the budget standoff in Washington.

The state budget office says it has a plan that averts public employee layoffs.

But Governor Rick Snyder says the state has no plans to replace the money lost because of sequestration – which amounts to about four-tenths of one percent of total state spending.   

Danielle Lynch / Flickr

'The sequester' has generated a nervous buzz throughout the nation as we wait to see if the federal budget cuts will be a big deal. 

For some agencies in Michigan, the cuts are already here.

Let's take a look at one of the state's most popular scenic tourist destinations - the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Last year, the Dunes had a record year with 1.53 million visitors.

Tom Ulrich is the Deputy Superintendent of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Though he wasn't told to furlough any of his year round employees, Ulrich was required to cut a lot of the seasonal employees that are crucial to park maintenance over the summer.

whitehouse.gov

How much will Michigan residents actually feel the effects of the sequester?

Well, we're still waiting to find out. 

The lack of clarity concerning the real amount of jobs being furloughed and cuts to departments and agencies is largely due to a continuing resolution that President Obama will sign this week.

The resolution will fund the government for the next six months in order to get the country through the next fiscal year. 

Todd Spangler covers the nation's Capitol for the Detroit Free Press and joined us from Washington  D.C.

the.laus/Flickr

Unionized state employees received notices earlier this month that layoffs may be coming as a result of funding cuts due to the federal sequester.

The notices were dated March 8, but were only made public this week.The state is required to give 30-day's notice before any layoffs. The earliest any could occur would be April 8.

Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, said the state still isn't sure what will be cut.

"That's the hard part right now, we don't know exactly where the cuts are coming," Weiss said. "We're waiting for further guidance from the federal government. We expect the cut level will be somewhere around $150 million total, but whether that will result in layoffs or not, we just don't know yet."

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A number of federal employees took part in protests in six Michigan cities Wednesday afternoon. The events were part of a national campaign opposing sequestration, the automatic spending cuts to the federal budget that are already taking effect.

Kyle Austin has been working at the social security administration in Grand Rapids for 35 years. He admits, not everyone knows or necessarily seems to care about sequestration.

“It worries me because we’re the front line people. We see these people. Congress doesn’t,” Austin said.

With President Obama and Congress failing to come to a budget deal, automatic spending cuts have gone into effect. There have been dire warnings about the impact of those cuts though the effects won’t be felt immediately. But Michigan gets over half its budget from the federal government which means the state will have to face the impact of the cuts if impasse isn't resolved soon. We speak with Budget Director John Nixon.

ridetherapid.org

Local governments and businesses are waiting to see how they will be affected by automatic federal budget cuts that take effect today.   

In Grand Rapids, the city’s plans for a new rapid bus service may end up being delayed by the sequester cuts.

Peter Varga is the CEO of The Rapid.   He says 80 percent of the funding for the nearly $40 million project is slated to come from the federal government.

Varga says if the federal funding is held up, the project will be delayed beyond its 2014 completion date. He says a delay will add to the cost of the project.

The across the board spending cuts, known as 'sequestration' are set to begin today, unless Congress comes to an agreement to avert the $85 billion in military and domestic spending cuts.

The White House says Michigan would face about $140 million in cuts if the sequester takes effect at midnight.

A detailed overview of where those cuts would be seen in Michigan can be found here.

On Morning Edition, Christina Shockley spoke with Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI 9th District) about what sequestration would mean in Michigan and the nation.

NWF

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but folks in Washington aren’t exactly getting along these days.

They couldn’t agree on how to cut the deficit, and now we’re facing automatic, across-the-board spending cuts from the federal government.

The cuts are scheduled to start March 1.

$85 billion will have to be stripped out of the federal budget this year alone.

The White House sent a press release detailing how these cuts might affect environmental programs in Michigan.

Here's what they wrote:

Michigan would lose about $5.9 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Michigan could lose another $1.5 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

We heard a lot about about how the sequester might affect things like airports, school funding, and Medicare, but we wanted to know more about the numbers above.

How might environmental programs in the region be affected?

Preschool-age boy practicing writing his name at a table in a Head Start classroom.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The debate over federal spending cuts has made Head Start a major topic of conversation in Washington. Leaders from both parties warn that tens of thousands of kids will lose a chance at Head Start’s preschool program, if the across-the-board spending cuts are allowed to happen.

To some critics, cutting Head Start would be a good thing. They think it is a failure, and not worth the money. 

user Penywise / morguefile

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the idea of increasing sales taxes on services to help fund road improvements in the state, how sequestration could affect Michigan, and why a Detroit City Council meeting to discuss how to avoid a state takeover was canceled.

Photo courtesy of www.Utah.gov

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's budget director says he doesn't expect automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to take effect Friday to start hitting state programs for a month.

John Nixon told The Associated Press on Tuesday he expects there will be "real cuts to real people."

But he says it's too early to know the true impact on jobs and Michigan residents, and he doesn't think the Obama administration knows yet either.

Federal dollars supply more than half Michigan's budget. Nixon says he's hearing from experts that cuts won't hit state government immediately because the federal budget is funded through March 27.

Big program like Medicaid and food stamps won't be affected. But Nixon says he's concerned about cuts to home heating assistance, food aid for low-income pregnant women and job training.
 

Today on Stateside, Cyndi talks "sequestration." The word is on the tip of everyone's tongue in D.C.

We’ll get a break-down of how those across-the-board cuts could directly affect Michigan's economy.

We also look at the challenges around re-inventing abandoned and distressed neighborhoods.  Cyndy gets a perspective from two urban planning experts.

Also, it was a very busy weekend for the Michigan Democratic and Republican Parties.

Both held their conventions this weekend, and for one party, it means a brand-new state leader.

So Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, stopped by to help fill in the details.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The White House says Michigan faces about $140 million in losses if an automatic federal budget cut takes effect Friday, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin says he's hopeful the deadline pressure will prompt Congress to raise money by closing some tax loopholes.

The Michigan Democrat tells MLive.com that the key to a deal this week lies with finding some Republicans who are willing to balance spending cuts and revenue increases.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals could be among those hardest hit by automatic federal budget cuts this week.

Under the sequestration, Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals would be cut by two percent.

Laura Appel is the vice president for federal policy and advocacy with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.  She says sequestration would add up to tens of millions of dollars a year in loss reimbursements to Michigan hospitals. 

U.S. Congress / congress.gov

Michigan stands to lose thousands of jobs if automatic federal budget cuts take effect at the end of the month.

The effects could ripple through the state’s economy.

Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University, has broken down the effects of the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that will go into effect if the so-called sequestration goes through next week.

He estimates Michigan will lose 23,000 to 25,000 jobs, mostly defense department related, but also about 10,000 non-governmental jobs.

That’s slightly lower than the more than 30,000 jobs lost he predicted last year, but he says the effect on Michigan’s economy will still be more than $2 billion.

Fuller says small businesses will feel the effect more than large businesses.

“They have a harder time adjusting…they don’t have stockholders or large deposits in the bank to live off of,” said Fuller.

Fuller says government workers will probably start to feel the budget cuts in April, but a Lansing area defense contractor has already announced layoffs tied to the looming sequestration.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Tens of billions of dollars in federal spending cuts will take effect March first, unless Congress does something to stop the sequestration.

And Michigan’s major research universities may be among those feeling the sting.