State Budget Office Waiting For Answers To ‘Sequester’ Questions

Linda Luebbering Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

As the country braces for the full effects of the federal spending cuts ordered March 1, Missouri budget director Linda Luebbering said her office is taking a measured approach to the so-called sequester, which the White House projected would mean spending reductions of well over $100 million in Missouri.

“We have no certainty at the federal level at this point on the cuts,” Luebbering said last week. “So we’re still waiting for how much, what and when.”

Luebbering says her office cannot simply act on projections because those are subject to change at this point in the process. “We’re not going to anticipate a cut that may or may not be the right amount,” she said.

While the people who run federally funded programs in the state are evaluating what the impact of the cuts may be, there haven’t been any official moves, she said.

Since Obama’s announcement on March 1, Luebbering’s office has been considering solutions to some cuts, including the use of carryover funds that programs retained from 2012. The office is also considering using state revenues to stem the sequester’s effects.

Luebbering said the sequester could impact K-12 school programs and lead to reductions in health care funding and some nutrition programs. However, she says there isn’t a specific time frame for when Missourians will feel those effects. “The federal government is still trying to figure it out at the detail level,” she said. “And it won’t all necessarily happen at once.”

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