Statequesterpocalypse 2013 Kicks Off

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

On Friday, the across-the-board cuts of the federal budget sequester started to kick in. While planes have hopefully not fallen out of the sky (yet), as President Obama noted in a press conference on Friday, the pain will be felt incrementally, and it will be real to millions of Americans. What's worse, the self-inflicted damage to the economy predicted to result from the sequester is entirely avoidable, and in fact does little to reduce the deficit. State legislators from 46 states this week urged Congress to avert the sequester and make sure that "significant revenues" were included in any new deal. Here's more on that, and on how the cuts are set to hit the states in the coming weeks:

Progressive States Network released an open letter this week signed by legislators from 46 states urging Congress to avoid the sequester and include "significant" revenues in any replacement. [PSN]

A collection of state-by-state fact sheets on the effects of the sequester from the White House, NEA, and others. [PSN]

Sequestration will take a toll on state environmental programs. [Stateline]

It's also going to hit communities of color particularly hard. [Campaign for America's Future]

And women and children. [Alternet]

And — specifically — conservative-leaning states. [The Daily Beast]

Indiana reversed a decision to halt federal jobless benefit payments in advance of the sequester kicking in. [IndyStar]

Meanwhile, a reminder that the damage already caused by austerity measures has been steep: "Federal, state and local governments now employ 500,000 fewer workers than they did on the eve of the recession in 2007." [New York Times]

And this could all be avoided by passing a single, one-sentence bill. [Huffington Post]


Read the full Dispatch from March 2, 2013 here.