Military School Districts Likely First To Feel Budget Cuts

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 2 2013 1:31 PM

Military School Districts Will Likely Be First To Feel Sequester Pain

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President Obama blames Republicans for inaction on the budget cuts

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

It’s here. The long-anticipated budget cuts that weren’t ever supposed to happen—known as the sequester—were made official late Friday. President Obama signed budget legislation with across-the-board cuts and sent it to Congress along with a 70-page report detailing the cuts that that Jeffrey Zients, the head of the Office of Management & Budget, called “deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions.” But even though the cuts are now official, the immediate impact will be limited considering “the process of trimming government budgets is slow and cumbersome,” as the New York Times notes.

Among those affected? Public schools. And the ones most likely to feel the pain first are schools on and around military bases, thanks to cuts in a program known as “Impact Aid” that supplements for losses in property taxes for districts with federal land, including military bases and Indian tribal areas, details the Associated Press. Some 1,400 school districts benefit from the program that could be cut as early as this month.

And what did Obama and the Republican leadership do Saturday morning? As usual, point fingers. That suggests the two sides aren’t even close to talking about any sort of solution. In his weekly address, President Obama said the cuts “are not smart” and “will hurt our economy and cost us jobs,” reports the Hill. "None of this is necessary," he added. "It's happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit." For their part, House Republicans insist they tried to avert the cuts but didn’t get support from Democrats, notes the AP.

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One of the big reasons why Democrats and Republicans refuse to compromise is that they each believe the other will be blamed for the cuts, points out Reuters.

Have questions about the sequester? Be sure to check out the handy guide by Slatest editor Josh Voorhees.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.