First Work Week Post-Sequester: What Changes Could Green Country See?
Monday will be the first day back to work for many Green Country residents. In light of the sequester that went into effect March 1st, Channel 8 spoke with a local political expert to learn more about what changes the area could immediately see.
"I think there's been a lot of fear mongering on both sides of this issue," said OSU Professor Laura Belmonte. "The fact of the matter is, I don't think most people in Tulsa are going to notice any change come Monday."
Belmonte said most of the changes are incremental and will go into effect over time. She said 24,000 defense workers in Oklahoma are subject to furlough. Also, 70 teachers and aides could possibly be fired, along with 90 workers that help children with disabilities. Belmonte does not expect the Tulsa International Airport to suddenly have drastically longer lines due to furloughs.
She said these changes are not necessarily cuts.
"We are still spending federal funds at a rate that is higher than it was prior to 2008. So, we haven't cut the absolute rate of federal spending here. We're just slowing it down," said Belmonte.
In this document, the White House explains how the sequester could impact Oklahoma. It said the national changes could "threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut viral services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform."
Congressman Markwayne Mullin said in a statement, "The higher taxes President Obama is campaigning for will not help our businesses, families or economy. However, spending cuts and staying on course to a balanced budget will help Oklahoma taxpayers who have already been hit by spiking gas prices and an increase in the payroll tax."
The sequester will decrease federal spending by $85 billion.