Sequester Will Hit Illinois Hard If Budget Deal Isn't Reached
By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 26, 2013 7:00PM
Flights to O'Hare and Midway Airport (pictured) could be affected by the sequester. (Photo Credit: vxla)
Depending on whether Democrats or Republicans blink first, it looks as though the country is headed toward a rash of unpopular and painful budget cuts otherwise known as the “sequester” if a deal can’t be reached before March 1.
The White House released documents showing how the budget cuts will affect each state. It looks like Illinois will take it on the proverbial chin, and hard. (We’ve included a copy of the White House’s report on the effect of the budget cuts on Illinois with the post.)
The biggest cuts to Illinois would be in federal grants and spending as a part of state revenue. The Land of Lincoln is among the five states that would be hit hardest if the budget cuts go into effect. Illinois would lose up 8.5 percent of those grants if the budget goes into sequester. (The national average is 6.6 percent.) Revenues from state income taxes would increase as personal and business deductions, and federal tax credits are cut.
WBEZ took the data and put together a handy infographic showing the cuts to education ($33.4 million lost in education funding), defense spending (14,000 Defense Department employees would be furloughed), and environmental funding ($6.4 million for clean air and water programs would be lost).
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the budget cuts could lead to delays at airports across the country, including O’Hare and Midway Airports. LaHood told the Sun-Times Lynn Sweet.
"Here is what these automatic cuts are going to mean for the traveling public. Obviously, as always, safety is our top priority, and we will never allow the amount of air travel we can handle safely to take off and land -- which means travelers should expect delays.
"And once airlines see the potential impact of these furloughs, we expect that they will change their schedules and cancel flights," he said.
LaHood also warned of air traffic tower closures and the loss of midnight shifts at airports across the country.