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Amid anxiety about defense cuts, states brace for the other $500B hit


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?test=latestnewsFox News:

Deadlocked lawmakers and defense contractors alike have been raising alarm about the more than half-trillion dollars in defense cuts poised to take effect starting in January because of Congress' failure to reach a more balanced deficit-reduction deal.

But there's another side to that budget ax that rarely gets mentioned -- another $500 billion in non-defense cuts that could do serious damage to education, research, safety net and other programs.

All those areas would be cut by nearly 8 percent over the next 10 years. Washington has already signaled drastic consequences for the automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which says the cuts could stunt economic growth, increase unemployment and send the country into another recession.

But state officials are also living in a state of uncertainty and anxiety over the non-defense cuts, as they consider where to find the money to cover the planned reduction in federal support.

“There is a lot of uncertainty,” said Scott B. Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. “States are waiting to see. And in some cases they might just have to say ‘Sorry, we no longer have any money'” for that program.

Pattison and others say state officials have already started talking about the potential impact of the cuts. But the uncertainty about what might eventually happen in Washington means officials cannot make solid plans.

“States are not in a place to predict how the cuts will impact their budgets,” David Adkins, executive director of the Council of State Governments, told FoxNews.com on Wednesday.

The trillion-dollar cuts over the next 10 years would begin Jan. 2.



The legacy of Harry Reid and friends.

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