Unfortunately, a plan of indiscriminate, across-the-board budget cuts known as "sequestration" went into effect today.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other independent economic forecasters have said these particular spending reductions will undermine America's economic recovery, and I am disappointed that Congress was unable to compromise on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit without eliminating jobs.
All told, sequestration will result in the elimination of at least 750,000 jobs from the economy in 2013 and slash economic growth in half, according to CBO. George Mason University has estimated that 70,000 jobs would be lost in New York State alone if sequestration proceeds.
And the impact will be felt on Eastern Long Island, from reductions in available slots for Head Start and senior nutrition programs to furloughs and job losses at major employers. The 106th Air Rescue Wing at Gabreski Airforce Base in Westhampton will be affected by a policy of furloughs for civilian Department of Defense employees, with 201 technicians forced to take 22 non-consecutive days of unpaid leave before September 30th. This is effectively a 20% pay cut for workers that will have a ripple effect throughout the local economy.
Stony Brook University, the second-largest employer on Long Island, will be affected by a reduction of nearly $7.25 million in federal research funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, The Department of Energy and other federal agencies in the period March 1 to Sept. 30, 2013. SBU told me this week that this could result in the elimination of 60 high-quality research and development jobs in the next seven months.
Sequestration will also eliminate $3 billion in critical Superstorm Sandy aid to rebuild communities through FEMA and other federal programs. In short, Long Island and our nation deserve a more thoughtful and balanced approach to meeting our deficit reduction goals.
Sequestration will place an unnecessary drag on our economic recovery, which is exactly the wrong strategy when we should be promoting growth with jobs. I share the disappointment of so many Americans who will be affected but by these cuts that they have not been averted. However, we will not be discouraged and will continue to work toward a compromise plan that will reduce the deficit with responsible--as opposed to indiscriminate — spending cuts, and increased revenues from closing tax loopholes.
I hope you will contact my office at 631-289-6500 with your views on this important issue.