Education and defense would be among the biggest losers in Maine in automatic cuts to the federal budget set to take hold this week, according to a report that the White House issued Sunday as it seeks to avoid the impending economic fallout.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have called on President Barack Obama to work with congressional leaders to reach an agreement to prevent the cuts and reduce the national debt, citing a major contributor to Maine's economy.
"Failure to avert such an outcome could have severe ramifications for our nation's shipbuilding industrial base, including Bath Iron Works in Maine, the nation's premier shipbuilder and employer of more than 5,000 workers," the senators wrote in a letter last week.
The White House compiled the numbers from federal agencies and its own budget office. The numbers reflect the impact of the cuts this year. Unless Congress acts by Friday, $85 billion in cuts are set to take effect from March to September.
As to whether states could move money around to cover shortfalls, the White House said that depends on state budget structures and the specific programs. The White House did not have a list of which states or programs might have flexibility.
According to the White House, Maine would lose:
- About $2.7 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 40 teacher and aide jobs at risk.
- About $2.6 million for about 30 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities.
- Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 300 children.
- About $127,000 to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events.
- About $330,000 to help prevent and treat substance abuse.
- About $51,000 for vaccinations, leaving 740 children without vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and Hepatitis B.
- 7,000 civilian Department of Defense workers would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $41.7 million.
- $7.7 million cut from Army base operation funding.
- About $1.4 million to ensure clean water and air quality and to prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.
- About $496,000 for fish and wildlife protection.
- About $67,000 for law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
- About $197,000 to provide meals for seniors.