LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) —
Automatic spending cuts will go into effect Friday barring a last-minute deal in Washington -- and Michigan, like every other state, would feel the impact.
sequester, as it is called, would cut $85 billion from the federal budget. The White House says Michigan would lose
at least $140 million in funding to a variety of programs in education, public safety, child care, public safety, transportation and defense.
"It wasn't supposed to happen this way,"
John Nixon, Michigan's budget director.
Nixon said the automatic cuts were supposed to work as a catalyst to get a budget deal in Washington -- but since that never happened, he is keeping a close eye on what may be cut if the sequester kicks in on March 1.
Nixon said that some big items like Medicaid and food stamps won't be cut. The same is true of Social Security and veterans' benefits -- but some of those other cuts will be felt.
A precise list of cuts has not been fully laid out, and no one is entirely sure exactly how much the cuts would cost the state.
It is known that the cuts would be for the budget year, which is already five months old. That means the cuts would have to be absorbed in the remaining seven months of the spending calendar.
The total loss directly to the state could be a few hundred million dollars out of a more than $50 billion budget, but the broader impact from defense and other cuts and a depressing impact on the economy could push that number higher.
The impact wouldn't only be to services provided by the state. Civilian furloughs could impact as many as 10,000 Department of Defense employees.
And the Federal Aviation Administration says the cuts could -- not necessarily would -- but could leave the Lansing Airport tower unmanned overnight. The W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek and the Muskegon County Airport could be unstaffed altogether.
As of Monday, there is no word of a workable plan to stop those cuts.
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Michigan is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification.