Minnesota will be one of the states least affected by sequestration, but it's still going to suck
Starting this weekend, public sector workers and those who depend on them will pay the price for Washington's political impasse.
Barring a last-minute deal in D.C., this Friday will mark the beginning of $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts that will be gradually implemented over the next decade.
All states will be affected, some more than others. And it turns out Minnesota ranks toward the top of the "others" category, while our neighbor to the southwest will take it on the chin harder than anywhere else.
As the Washington Post explains, "The Pew Center on the States has measured each state's exposure to the sequester by calculating its federal aid subject to the sequester as a percentage of the state's total GDP." Here's Pew's graph of the most- and least-impacted states:
Click to enlarge
But just because sequestration is relatively unsucky here doesn't mean it won't still suck. Earlier today, the White House released a state-by-state analysis of specific ways each state will be impacted when $85 million is suddenly removed from the federal budget this Friday. Here's how WCCO sums up the damage for Minnesota:
If budget cuts go into effect, the White House says Minnesota will lose $7 million in education funding, putting about 100 teacher and aide jobs at risk.
Also, 2,000 military employees would be furloughed, losing more than $12 million in pay.
Local law enforcement and public safety agencies -- along with the state public health department -- would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Washington Post succinctly describes the game of chicken going on between the Obama administration and the GOP majority in the House of Representatives:
In the long partisan conflict over government spending, the sequester is where the rubber meets the road. Obama is betting Americans will be outraged by the abrupt and substantial cuts to a wide range of government services, from law enforcement to food safety to public schools. And he is hoping they will rise up to demand what he calls a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction that replaces some cuts with higher taxes.
But if voters react with a shrug, congressional Republicans will have won a major victory in their campaign to shrink the size of government. Instead of cancelling the sequester, the GOP will likely push for more.
It's fascinating political theater, until it jeopardizes your livelihood. Then it just blows.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.