Sequestration's Impact on Cranford Is Unclear
But Mayor Hannen says any cuts could slow economy recovery in town and possibly place a higher tax burden on residents.
For most local officials, there's no telling how proposed sequestration spending cuts will affect municipalities. However, according to Cranford mayor Tom Hannen, it could lead to a higher tax burden placed on residents, if the automatic federal cuts cause the economic recovery to slow down even further.
"As the economy continues to recover, we have a problem with the value of property. It makes our problems worse in trying to balance the budget," Hannen said.
The township finalized several rounds of budget presentations this week. Also, Hannen said he was on a conference call with New Jersey Department of Community Affairs chief Richard E. Constable III who said local governments should expect to receive the same level of state aid as in 2012, which was about $1.35 billion.
Hannen noted that the number could go up or down as budgets become finalized. He also said that transitional aid will be cut from $108million to $94.5million
Governor Chris Christie presented a $32.9 billion budget on Tuesday that laid out plans for shore restoration, among other things.
Mayor Hannen said it was too early to comment on the state budget. Still, he remained positive about grant reimbursements for FEMA under the proposed state budget. Cranford is expecting to receive grant money for home elevation work done in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
"We're attacking the expense side," Hannen said about preparations for the township's budget. "Once we know what our revenues are we may have to go back through the expense to continue more cuts. We don't know yet."
One group that Hannen was particularly concerned about were the federal workers who could potentially be furloughed in the event of sequestration cuts.
"Whether it's the TSA or the DEA, or other law enforcement agency" Hannen said, "As those people get furloughed they will have a problem paying their bills. And I know a number of those people in town."
Through sequestration, the federal government would also save $75 million by furloughing 11,000 civilian military contractors, and another $59 million by cutting funding to military bases.
The cuts would include:
- Approximately $11.7 million in funding for primary and secondary education.
- About $17 million in funds for about 210 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
- Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,300 children.
- New Jersey would lose about $4,891,000 in environmental funding, and $472,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
- Approximately 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed.
- Army base operation funding would be cut by about $52 million in New Jersey. Funding for Air Force operations in New Jersey would be cut by about $7 million.
- New Jersey will lose about $336,000 in Justice Assistance Grants.
- Up to 600 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care.
- Around 3,930 fewer children will receive vaccines.
- New Jersey will lose approximately $840,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. New Jersey will lose about $2,330,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3100 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services will lose about $752,000 resulting in around18,800 fewer HIV tests.
- New Jersey could lose up to $187,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 700 fewer victims being served.
- Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: New Jersey would lose approximately $488,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
The total federal spending cuts would be about $1.2 trillion over the next nine years. Republicans have accused the president of using the impending cuts for political gain.
President Obama's plan asks for increased tax revenues to offset some of the trillion-dollar cuts.