Sequester to Affect Mississippi's Children

The state's children will be hard hit by the federal sequester.

The state's children will be hard hit by the federal sequester. Photo by Courtesy Flickr/Flickingerbrad

Today marks the deadline for Congress and the president to agree on a plan to avoid the $85 billion in automatic, indiscriminate spending cuts called the sequester. However, with the current atmosphere in Washington, D.C., there seems little doubt that this time, the cuts are happening for real.

Monday, the White House published details of what the sequester would mean for each state. For Mississippi, which receives more than $2.50 in federal dollars for every $1 it contributes to the federal coffers, the cuts could touch on every part of the state economy; however, funds for education could see potentially devastating decreases, according to the Obama administration. For example:

• Teachers and Schools: Mississippi will lose approximately $5,486,000 in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 80 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 12,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 20 fewer schools would receive funding.

• Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Mississippi will lose approximately $6,124,000 in funds for about 70 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities.

• Work-Study Jobs: Around 510 fewer low-income students in Mississippi would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college, and about 150 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

• Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,600 children in Mississippi, reducing access to critical early education.

Without state-mandated early childhood education, reducing funds for Mississippi's Head Start program means swelling an already bulging waiting list. One-third of the state's children live in poverty, and in early 2011, the state already had more than 9,500 children waiting for child-care assistance, reports the Washington, D.C.-based Child Welfare League of America.

For Hinds County, the sequester would probably mean from 120 to 140 Head Start slots eliminated out of about 2,000, said Kenn Cockrell, executive director of the Hinds County Human Resource Agency. The county would also lose from seven to 10 related jobs.

"It's obviously not good news," Cockrell said. "Not only will the children be affected, but because of the nature of Head Start--it's holistic--(it will) impact the entire family."

Cockrell noted that Head Start has been very successful in lifting people out of poverty. The program also has long-term benefits for the state economy.

"For every dollar that's invested in Head Start, the economy gets seven dollars in return," Marvin Hogan, executive director of Friends of Children, the state's second-largest Head Start provider, told Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

"If you're talking about reducing $14 million dollars from Mississippi's Head Start budget just think about seven times that 14. And it does provide service not only to the children--it's a source of employment, and our agency--one agency--is 987 employees."

The Hinds County Human Resource Agency also provides other low-income programs, such as assisting families with energy costs. Cockrell said those other programs could also be affected, adding that of the county's roughly quarter-million people, about a quarter live at or below the poverty level. His funding is sufficient to reach about half the people in the county that need help.

"Things are become more and more difficult for low-income people to make ends meet," Cockrell said. "To have this happen, at this point in time when the economy is just now trying to turn the corner is going to be doubly devastating."

"... There is a certain inertia on the part of those who could make a difference--if they chose to."

On a national scale, about half the federal cuts--$43 billion--will affect the nation's security and military operations. The other $42 billion will come from domestic programs, such as education and national parks, payments to Medicare providers, some agriculture programs and benefits to those who have been unemployed for long periods. The sequester will not affect Social Security or Medicaid benefits, federal retirement or nutrition programs for low-income Americans.

Comments

hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks to Jackson Free Press for the forum,at least you can have diverse views here unlike our Clarion Ledger.Of course as we have seen the CL is gotten so small it barely lines a bird cage anymore.So my take on this article is that the whole thing is a scam.We have 85 Billion split into 43 Billion from the military and 42 Billion from domestic programs.It is also spread out over 10 years.Now for the real 411=It is not a cut Period!! It is a reduction in proposed increases in spending.So no one but proposed new hires should have a job or funding loss.But the politics of the day may actually cost us money and services.But any business manager who can't restructure 2.5% of financial constriction should be fired and laughed at.This is pure politics. Also in our state I know we love the Head Start Program and it does some good things but the truth is that the beginning of the program showed some promise.But after 45 years the impact shows in info by the Dept.of Health and Human Services that:"Head Start simply does not work."And one of the problem's is that we send Washington 1 dollar and get 2.50 back,if we had to stand on our own and had politicians that were for us and our state's best interest we would :"HAVE TO" find solutions.Have any of you noticed that the Federal Govt. has run us into a Trillion Dollar deficits each year for the last five years. And Bush was not blameless either,he started the spending insanity.But it is now in overdrive. When we get to the end of our financial run to ruin each state will be on it''s own.We have many positives.Oil production and refineries including an interesting alternative fuel producer in Columbus Ms. KIOR refinery.Lets hope it lives up to it's potential.As two more are planned.We also have one of the best food producing areas of the country.We are also a manufacturing hub and trucking hub to move products through here to the rest of the country.

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hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

We have no latitude in our welfare programs ,if you are to draw public assistance you must not work.Why can't we develop ways for people to work as much as they can and adjust the impact on the tax payers and the overloaded entitlement systems. We also have an area of the country where people grow gardens so prolific they feed their families; half the block ;and most of their co-workers.So why can't we supplement our food stamp program by using our churches/community groups/local unused properties owned by the cities. We could grow food to take the place of some of the food stamp liability and save some money while still providing great food.Jobs would be created ;funding would be freed up;a system that costs us money could be reduced and used for other community needs.Why isn't some one thinking of alternatives. Oh! Oh! I know the answer, because our politicians don't make it available as an option.Every one is so entrenched in keeping power over programs and positions that the peoples needs and the ability to free ourselves from ever spiraling debt and become a sovereign state able to produce and compete with any state in the union goes untried. Here is some interesting but sad truths;the "Green" businesses that have been "Nationalized" buy being funded with our tax money have all failed and our taxes have gone to waste.Many are familiar with Solyndra and the 527 million gone in smoke,but here is the list.Besides Solyndra there is 1)Raser Technology 2)Beacon Power 3)Thompson River =5 Million 4) Mountain Plaza Inc. 424,000 5)Ener 1 in Indiana 6)Energy Conversion Devises Mich. 7)Evergreen Solar Inc. Mass. 8)Olson's Crop Service and Olsen's Mills Acquisitions Co.Wisc. 9)Range Fuel's in Georgia 10)Spectrawatt in New York...Ok now all these businesses failed and our tax dollars that we should use to help our country and state are gone.But not only did the company owners get their pay they in many cases came back to get bonuses some after the companies had gone under.The more you know the more you should get involved and make our politicians do the right thing by the people.When the Federal Government goes under and it will we won't have that 2.50 tax money.Those folks will get hungry and angry pretty fast.

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hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

The country and the national politics is broken and out of control.But we can as Texas has take control of our own state.North Dakota has only the oil benefits that we have and their political and community working together have made their unemployment less then 3%; that statistically is no unemployment.The jobs they have are in the 100,000 dollar a year range in many cases.They also have grain production but no food capability like us.Now look at our area, Jackson is just pitiful no jobs no development and yet all around us in this economy other towns right next to us are thriving.Pearl is blowing the roof off with it's Bass Pro Shops and Sam's like the Sam's we have just lost to Madison.Do you all know that Bass Pro Shops was supposed to be here in Jackson in the old Al East truck location by Lynch St.How did we lose that ? The same way we lose everything,the same old politicians in the same positions.Mayor ,City Counsel,Supervisors. Time for new thinking ,new people,go back to our roots in faith and make new directions a priority.We can't do much with the dog and pony show in Washington but we can control our local and state politics and become what Mississippi should be.Remember Katrina we took the biggest hit but while the cameras were all on the failure of the mayor and governor in La. we had Haley and our people ,Black and White,Republican and Democrat,successful and dirt poor pulling together while no one watched or cared about us,but we rebuilt and the coast is back.It is what we make it ,don't worry about Washington I guarantee they won't change till the bottom falls out .We are on our own and can do this.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 1 month ago

hotrod..perhaps YOU should move to Texas or North Dakota...those places seem to suit what it is YOU'RE looking for. All YOU do is complain. You are actually part of any problem that exists within YOUR way of thinking. YOU say that Jackson has no jobs an no development but in actuality, Jackson has plenty of jobs and an abundance of development. It would be great if people like YOU would become better informed before making uninformed comments. Further, the last time I looked, Sam's is still in Jackson and until they actually construct a new facility wherever they are moving and move, Jackson will continue to receive the taxes and benefit of it being here. If Bass Pro Shops is YOUR idea of Pearl thriving then so be it. The taxes Bass Pro Shops isn't paying in Pearl makes your argument quite weak. Additionally, look at the sales tax numbers for Jackson compared to the surrounding areas. They are continually increasing with the others. People like you believe what you read and don't know how to find the TRUTH for yourselves. Do as God admonishes Christians to do. 'Study to show THYSELF approved'.

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hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

In business and in life you take the lessons of success and emulate as much as possible things that work.And I do find out for myself.I have spoken to the Oil and gas board in North Dakota and in Texas,so that I am informed.I have been involved here in Jackson personally in my South Jackson neighborhood.I live in an area affectionately known as "Doodleville"and I see the other businesses like Coca-Cola and now even our Hwy 80 mall businesses flee the city. I have been a member of two neighborhood watch groups and the South Jackson Business Coalition. The Brookshires on Terry Road left because of constant thievery,taking a quality convenient store from our community. Virden Addition ;Queens;Hwy 80 corridor;the main body of housing from Hwy 80 North past Jackson State through to Woodrow Wilson and on out to 220 is that your idea of quality neighborhoods? There is nothing wrong with the people,but the areas are in decay and not getting better.You must be in an office with no windows.The people know ,there is no development that they get to have their kids work at.Downtown with it's extra police protection might have some development.But Sam's is leaving ,Bass Pro shops is jobs and taxes for goods consumed,where in Jackson is a thriving business development any where near the scope of the Pearl complex of Sports arena and Hotels and Restaurants?There is nothing weak about the argument for better leadership here in Jackson.I am not just here to tear down I want people motivated to retool the Jackson model and share in the progress other cities are experiencing.I know truth and I know God,and will fight for a better city.So with all this blustering tax revenue you speak of when will it fix the streets ,the water and sewage plant,the antiquated water pipes and roads that need a 4x4 to navigate?Or is it concentrated in this mystical development no one in the city seems to be employed at?You can debate my facts but you have no civilized reason to call my faith to question.Take your lessons of Gods blessings and use them as he calls us to use faith to lift not for an attack.Shame on you.

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tstauffer 1 year, 1 month ago

The Brookshires on Terry Road left because of constant thievery,taking a quality convenient store from our community.

Just for the record, Brookshire's closed their Ridgeland, Flowood and Northeast Jackson stores at the same time they closed their Terry Road store, a move that seems more a strategic exit from Mississippi than anything having to do with a particular store.

That said, I see the other points regarding the decay in the city, although I wouldn't point to Bass Pro Shop or Sam's Club for your salvation -- those big boxes are just part of the problem as they take money out of local banking and take profits out of the state so that they're reinvested elsewhere. And they tend to get tax abatements to boot.

What we need are homegrown and locally owned retailers, restaurants, grocers and industries to put people to work and build wealth in Jackson. Political leadership can help with that, but private business interests and public educational efforts are what will takes us the furthest down that road.

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notmuch 1 year, 1 month ago

Hotrodrobert makes some good points, although he only scratches the surface. The most important thing to remember is that, as he says, this is not a cut, except in government-speak, but rather a reduction in the rate of spending escalation. All of the wailing and moaning over the impending "cuts" is analogous to someone expecting a raise in his yearly salary from $100,000 to $120,000, only to be informed that he will only get a raise to $118,000, prompting him to complain that his children will start missing meals. I think the 2013 budget is $3.8 trillion, which works out to about $10.4 billion per day, so at $85 billion we are talking about reducing spending growth by a little over 8 days' worth of spending. Of course, that doesn't even take into account the fact that about half of the $85 billion won't even come into play this fiscal year, or that FY2013 tax increases will total about $150 billion. I think the House called the President's bluff a little bit when they (or "it", if you prefer, Todd) passed a bill to allow him to selectively direct where "cuts" should be implemented--of course, the Senate wanted no part of that, since that would take away any reason for the President's continuing traveling teleprompter show blaming the mean old Republicans for failing to stop the sequester. I think most people knew as soon as Obama initiated the sequester that he ultimately wanted it to occur (even thought it was sold as a measure that would be so onerous that surely it would cause both sides to come together to reduce the deficit). After all, the design of the sequester is not to allow selective cuts, but across-the-board cuts that will be more damaging to programs he doesn't particularly like, such as defense. It also allows him to blame the continuing economic slide on the Republicans because they wouldn't do anything to prevent his sequester. Even with the sequester, we are on pace for a $6 trillion budget in 10 years.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 1 month ago

In a City of 175,000 that includes many diverse and different communities, its easy for people like hotrod to continuously dwell on those that don't meet their standards. There are communities in Clinton, Madison,Pearl, Brandon and Byram that have decaying housing and other areas of decay. For every community you mention in Jackson that's decaying, I could name one that's thriving. I live in one of those quality communities in South Jackson and there are many more. Yes Jackson has its challenges. But I submit that the leadership of the state of Mississippi has been complicit in preventing its Capital City from growing and thriving more. Much talk is made about the towns surrounding Jackson who thrive because of Jackson and not in spite of it. MOST of the jobs held by residents of the surrounding towns are in Jackson. Those people utilize the infrastructure of Jackson everyday and then complain about the wear. Why should Jackson residents alone be responsible for taking care of repairs and improvements that are necessary because of the use by those who don't live in the City. State leadership could fix this tomorrow. However they are weak and very inept.

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hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

      I knew the owner of Brookshires from Texas and one of his managers at the Terry road store and they were disappointed with the treatment in Jackson and pulled out of the area as you said.You are spot on about the homegrown and locally owned retailers,we need to build a strong base of businesses that draw diverse customers and the community needs to use community groups, churches,police,schools,and businesses working together to do it.If the areas are not welcoming and clean,it is unattractive to guests.The kids need to be taught how to be ready for work in attitude and proper dress.The Hwy 80 Corridor has the distinction of Being the OLD"Broadway of America" second only to Route 66 in fame as a transcontinental Hwy.With history as diverse as the Civil War;Bonnie and Clyde's demise and Lee Harvey Oswald's capture.It has the potential for historic grants and with some serious work a tie between Clinton and Pearl could provide the city with untold potential for growth.Our elected officials had this group of entities together once and Lee Vance was a real positive force on the police end of the equation,he worked really hard to help.But the other entities failed for various reasons,mainly because they would branch out to accommodate or advance their own interests.The schools got a pass on that comment because they were never included when the rest of the players couldn't hold it together.Ex Senator Richard White and Malcom McMillan were also great.Hopefully someone can get a stronger push forward and get the best people who want to see the area rise to it's potential.
   I would like to comment on the Sam's and Bass Pro Shops and their impact on an areas tax collection.We could have had BPS's and it's 130,000 sq.ft. building here.I don't have the Pearl numbers but do have the info on a store in Fla.at the same size.The community gave 18 million in tax breaks to get them,they produce 61 million a year in revenue;produced a property value of 16.4 million(they pay taxes on that -2 million-);sales taxes of 14.8 million of which the counties share is 3.8 million.And average 300 jobs per store full time.If Jackson's numbers would have been even a third less it would have been great for our communities. and in Pearl they have another monster money maker Sam's right next door who makes more then that historically according to WSJ.So losing Sam's in North Jackson is a big deal.
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hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

knowledge I want to point out that none of the cities have anywhere near the blight of Jackson.And it is far from easy for me to dwell on the problems,I live here and won't move because I want to help it get better.If you had thriving areas of Jackson to name you would have listed them,but it would be a short list. Belhaven,Downtown which pays for extra protection and some North Jackson areas,with the the Hwy 25 and spillway almost being a different city.But you make my point about the usage of Jackson by surrounding cities,we need local politicians who can work with these state entities and that has not happened. Why do you insist on making excuses for our local politicians who have limited skills and no plans that work when we could just try new people and directions. The King Edward took forever Farish St. is still a mess.But the "drug boys" are doing great and the prostitution is jammin also.So if we could just get them to pay taxes that would be cool.Get real the State doesn't come to us with a plan we get it together and show them something to back.So it's backward.The people of New Orleans waited for the Government to come save them because they were set in their ways relying on "Big Daddy Government"it was a national disaster for all to see.My intent is to get some people thinking or heck even mad at me I don't care and get up and make it happen so they can shut me up.Look at Belhaven they did the best of any area of the city to band together and grab their piece of Jackson and make it great.Go talk to them and steal every good idea they have,I bet the leaders there love this city so much they will be happy to share all the positive they can for the city to share.And for the record I don't just want to be negative as some of you think.I want to motivate us to fix the broken and clean the city.Republicans and Democrats are all to blame.But the citizens get what they let happen so don't be mad at me come up with better ideas and make the leadership follow through.
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tstauffer 1 year, 1 month ago

Hey hotrod, just a housekeeping note -- what can we do to make your comments a little more legible? I don't know what system you're using or why it's coming up in a different font, but if we could get some paragraphs every so often that might help. :) Thanks!

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hotrodrobert 1 year, 1 month ago

    I agree on the posting look ,I have no idea why it came up in that format and font.So if this comes up in odd font I will look for problem on my end.
    Paragraphs and all.Sorry for the hard to follow post.
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