Local social service among cuts if sequester isn't stopped - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Local social service among cuts if sequester isn't stopped

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The White House released a report this week saying Massachusetts would be severely impacted by automatic spending cuts known as the sequester if they aren't stopped by Friday.

"Exactly when we will feel that and how, remains to be seen," said Gov. Deval Patrick.

Patrick says that the billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts slated to slam the nation and the state on Friday could not come at a worse time.

"We're all concerned about the idea of taking some $85 billion out of the nation's economy at a time when we are just getting some traction in recovery."

If lawmakers don't reach a deal by March 1, everything from schools, to military, to public health funding will see drastic cuts.

"Even here we expect the impact to be considerable," Patrick said.

The White House revealed a report this week laying out how the Bay State would feel the pinch, saying military readiness would be impacted with around 7,000 civilian Department of Defense employees being furloughed, that includes more than 700 from Westover Air Reserve Base.

But that's not all.

Millions in funding for local schools, childcare programs and public health initiatives would also be lost.

That last point hits close to home with local social service providers like Springfield Partners for Community Action.

They help low-income residents with home heating and child services.

The cuts would be a 10 percent loss from their annual budgets, meaning they'll have to turn families away.

"They lose their voice in what goes on and not only are prices going up, not only is the cost of living ever-increasing, but these folks don't have a chance to get a leg up," said Paul Bailey, executive director of Springfield Partners.

Patrick says that he is still confident that lawmakers can look beyond party lines by Friday.

"The same balanced approach that ordinary citizens across the country hope will take hold," he said.

To view the White House's full report about sequester effects in Massachusetts click here.

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