Program reductions in Iowa caused by the federal budget sequestration likely will total about $46.5 million and hit education reading programs, public health areas and workforce development areas the hardest, a top state official said Thursday.
David Roederer, director of the state Department of Management, said initial reviews indicate about 236 positions that are funded with federal money could be impacted, with the potential for employee furloughs or permanent layoffs looming if no changes are made by Congress and President Obama.
Roederer said the sequestration effects are impacting about 0.4 percent of all state spending – which exceeds $12 billion when federal funding and state general fund spending are combined. His analysis did not include regent universities, which he did not expect would feel much of an impact from the lack of fiscal clarity coming from Washington, D.C.
“We believe we’ll be able to handle things without a whole lot of problems,” Roederer told a Statehouse news conference. However, he said there may some Iowans who rely on federally funded programs or employees in public defense, public health, education, agriculture and workforce development who may we impacted by furloughs or other disruptions.
The problem may be further exacerbated as Congress wrestles with continuing budget resolutions, federal debt ceilings and other advancing deadlines that could further complicate problems caused by sequestration.
“This isn’t going to be short term,” he said. “This is not a good way to run anything, let alone a federal government.”
The breakdown of current year funding reductions included $14.1 million for education, $8.75 million for public defense, $4.32 million for human rights and $4.25 million for vocational rehabilitation.