Sequester would have significant impact throughout New Mexico
POSTED: Monday, February 25, 2013 - 9:43pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 25, 2013 - 9:44pm
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — As the deadline for automatic budget cuts from the federal government rapidly approaches, the White House has outlined areas of possible cuts for New Mexico.
The biggest impacts would come from military installations and education cuts in the state.
"This is a very serious situation and we take it very seriously," said Monte Marlin, chief of public affairs for White Sands Missile Range.
Army bases in New Mexico would be losing about $33 million if congress cannot reach a deal by the March 1st deadline.
WSMR, like all Army posts in the state, have already implemented hiring freezes in anticipation of the possible sequestering of funds.
The range has also been informed of possible furloughs for employees.
In a worst case scenario there would be a maximum of 22 furlough days.
"We would see civil servants losing about a day of pay a week for up to 22 days a year," Marlin said.
The state is also at risk of losing about $6 million in funding for education.
80 teaching jobs could be affected and about 30 fewer schools would not be receiving funding.
The cuts could also include senior nutrition programs that could affect Las Cruces programs like Meals on Wheels, which helps provide meals for senior citizens.
The program works with a small percentage of federal funding with more than $20,000 coming from federal grants.
Senior nutrition programs are slated to lose about $401,000 state-wide.
White Sands Missile Range said they want to make it clear to employees the people are the primary concern in the event of sequestration.
"We will work through this situation together for the betterment of our workforce and the continuation of our mission," Marlin said.
New Mexico Impacts: