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March 1, 2013

Sequestration will not cause the sky to fall in Stephens County

DUNCAN —  

Automatic across the board budget cuts are scheduled to go into effect today, known as sequestration. The sequestration is a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was designed to encourage legislative leaders to come up with a plan to  reduce the deficit.
Steve Fair, Republican National Committee Man For Obama, said the sequester was never actually meant to go into effect.
“It was to force them to sit down and look at each agency in a specific way,” he said.
Sequestration was never meant to happen,” Oklahoma Representative Dennis Johnson said. “It was meant to be so scary they would come to an agreement before it would happen.”
Because legislative leaders failed to come to a conclusion on an effective way to reduce government spending, each government agency will have a forced budget cut, which Johnson said amounts to 2.3 percent overall.
“As I understand, it is a 2.3 percent cut overall, which is a significant cut and it will hurt in some ways but we are not talking about a 50 percent reduction or anything I would call catastrophic,” he said.
Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments is one local agency that will be impacted by the budget cuts. Executive Director Blaine Smith said the cuts would reduce their budget by about $160,000. He said he anticipated this resulting in about six people not being able to go to workforce training.
“I do not see any drastic problem,” he said. “The sky is not going to fall. If you cannot take two percent of the trillion dollar budget, there is something wrong.”
While Fair agreed that the sky would not fall with these minimal budget cuts, he said this was not a good way to cut funds out of the budget. 
“It is not the best way to deal with government spending,” he said. “Quite frankly, it penalizes the agencies that are doing a good job.”

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