Indiana braces for impact of sequester budget cuts

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With $85 billion in cuts on the line, officials here in Indiana are bracing for the impact of the federal sequestration.

The Indiana impact would include $13.8 million in cuts for primary and secondary education, according to information released by the White House.

Special education would also take a hit.  Programs that teach children with disabilities would lose $12.4 million. It would also affect 150 special education teachers, aides and staff.

The White House also said 11,000 defense workers could face furloughs here in Indiana, with $8.7 million scheduled to be cut from Army and Air Force operations here in the Hoosier state. Defense cuts have already forced the closure of the Indianapolis Air Show.

President Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday morning, but no agreement emerged to avert forced spending cuts that both sides oppose.

Here at the state level, officials at multiple agencies told Fox59 they were waiting on specifics from the federal government, including information on how and when to implement the cuts in question.

Earlier this week, the state of Indiana reversed a decision that would have suspended federal unemployment benefits for more than 30,000 Hoosiers.

Despite confusion over the impacts of sequestration, the Indiana Department of Workforce development consulted with the U.S. Department of Labor to reinstate the extended benefits, for now.

The list of potential Indiana cuts also includes $260,000 schedule to be cut from public safety programs, $138,000 from domestic violence services, and health care cuts which could lead to nearly three thousand fewer children getting vaccinations.

The cuts could also mean $1.7 million trimmed from substance abuse programs in Indiana, and at Drug Free Marion County, that’s a big cause for concern.

“If we’re not able to work effectively on the prevention end of things, then we know there’s going to be more people caught up in addiction,” said Nancy Beals, Prevention Project Coordinator for Drug Free Marion County. “Primarily, the federal funds are going to treat specific populations (such as) incarcerated individuals who are coming back into the community, active duty military and their families.”

“Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing?” asked Hoosier Linda Neese. “We’re supposed to be taking care of people, with all the money we send to the government.”

“I hope everybody gets their act together,” said Beals.

Click here to learn more about all the impacts the federal sequestration will have on Indiana.

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