With time rapidly running out until sequestration goes into effect this Friday, many local officials still aren't sure exactly how the automatic federal spending cuts would play out in Washington state.
According to the White House, Washington's biggest losses would be in education and military spending. In 2013, officials have said our state would lose $11.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, along with $11.3 million for education for children with disabilities—which would together put about 300 education jobs at risk.
The Shoreline School District would not immediately be affected by possible cuts, District Spokesman Craig Degginger said.
"We don't expect an immediate impact on Shoreline Schools from sequestration during the current school year, but if the planned reductions in federal funding extend into the next school year we would have to consider adjustments to the 2013-14 budget," Degginger said.
This is because federal grants are awarded in July for the following school year, explained another area District Spokesperson, Kathryn Reith of the Lake Washington School District.
Federal grants that could be affected by sequestration include those for the most at-risk students: Special Education, Head Start, English language learners, Vocational Education, Indian Education, and Title I funding for schools with low income populations would all be impacted.
The impact to jobs would be more significant with military employees, according to the White House's projections. Across the state, about 29,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, resulting in a loss of $173.4 million in gross pay.
Some social services would also be hard hit. Washington stands to lose more than $1 million in nutritional assistance for senior residents and $143,000 in funds for victims of domestic violence—requiring the STOP Violence Against Women Program to serve approximately 500 fewer victims.
Unemployment insurance another area that could see some impacts from sequestration. The Seattle Times reports that up to 141,000 Washington residents who are accepting unemployment checks could be impacted, but state officials aren't sure exactly how severe the cuts would be.
The Federal Aviation Administration has said it might shut down eight airports in our state—including Renton Municipal Airport and Paine Field in Everett—but it's still not clear whether or not that would actually happen, according to The Times.
A state-by-state comparison compiled by Wells Fargo shows Washington would be one of the states hardest-hit by sequestration because 5.9 percent of our state's GDP comes from federal spending—much of it in the form of military spending.
President Obama will meet with top Congressional leaders on Friday, the day sequestration is scheduled to begin taking effect.
Are you concerned about the local impacts of sequestration, should it go into effect? Tell us in the comments section.