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White House: TX Children, Military Would Feel Federal Cuts

Lockheed Martin
Federal budget cuts could affect Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter project in Fort Worth.

Texas agencies and programs that receive federal money are bracing for the automatic budget cuts that could begin Friday.

A White House analysis of how the so-called sequestration would affect each state indicates education, defense, and public health programs would be hit the hardest.

  State budget experts say Texas’ budget would lose about $334 million dollars this year, and about half that would be a reduction in education grant dollars.

The Texas Education Agency DeEttaCulbertson says most of the funding cuts would begin in July, and Title 1 funding for special education would probably suffer the most.

“When we talk about cuts to special ed we could be looking at cuts to therapists, things like special tutoring or some type of service that assists them with their disability,” said Culbertson.

The analysis says the jobs of some 930 teachers and aids in the special education program would be at risk and some 172,000 fewer students would be served.

Head Start money for 4,800 additional Texas children would also disappear. 

Federal dollars for vaccinations, substance abuse programs, meals for seniors and natural disaster response would drop.

Wait times at airports and border crossings would increase because work hours would be reduced for federal employees.

According to the analysis Texas would be among the state’s most severely affected by defense department cuts that would furlough some 52,000 Texas civilians and slash funding at military bases including Fort Hood.

“This is going to impact our military readiness,” said Jason Furman, the president’s assistant for economic policy during a conference call with reporters Monday.

“We’ve had defense contractors here at the White House and tried to make it clear how hard we’re working to avert the very large cuts they would face,” he said.

The White House singled out Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter built in Fort Worth saying the Navy would “reduce procurement” of the plane.

Lockheed, with over 14,000 employees in Fort Worth, says it’s unsure exactly how sequestration with affect workers and the Joint Strike Fighter project.   

But in a statement Lockheed said:  “Until sequestration is permanently eliminated, there will be an overhang on our industry that stifles investment in plants, equipment, people, and future research and development.” 

White House TX Budget Cuts

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.