Sequester expected to take a toll in Southern Arizona

From lost jobs to cuts in services, S. Arizonans would feel the effects
2013-02-24T00:00:00Z 2013-02-25T10:14:11Z Sequester expected to take a toll in Southern ArizonaArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Southern Arizonans can expect a rash of negative effects if that strange-sounding thing called the sequester comes to pass Friday.

That's the loud - in some cases, dire - warning from experts in education, government, social services and public lands that would be impacted by sequestration.

The automatic federal spending cuts would begin next month and slash $1.2 trillion over about a decade. Half of the cuts would come from defense and half from domestic programs.

The cuts "could cost more than 49,000 jobs in Arizona," said U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. "These cuts will weaken our military, undermine our economic recovery and harm Southern Arizona families."

Congress, which approved the cuts in an effort to force passage of a budget, could delay or reduce them. But many in Washington doubt lawmakers will.

How soon might we feel the pain? Not right away. But as money for needed work runs out, and as furloughs of some federal workers begin, it's likely we'll notice everything from diminished care for needy families to longer waits at airport security points.

Hundreds of families could be left homeless, and shut-ins might be forced onto waiting lists for meal deliveries.

Head Start services for more than 2,700 area children could be in jeopardy.

Border agents and port-of-entry officers will take furloughs and lose overtime.

Trails at Saguaro National Park could deteriorate from lack of maintenance, and visitor center hours could be cut.

And that's just a sample. See Page A14 for a full report.

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