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How would sequester cuts affect Pennsylvania? Just in 2013, by more than $200 million

By - Last modified: February 25, 2013 at 11:46 AM

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Federal spending in Pennsylvania will drop by well over $200 million in 2013 if the federal sequester takes effect Friday, according to the Obama administration.

In addition, the sequester could cost two midstate airports their air traffic control service starting this summer, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The White House on Sunday released estimates of the economic impact of the sequester on each state. Funding for Pennsylvania's Army bases would be cut by about $7 million and about 26,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would face furloughs, cutting payroll by $150.1 million, the White House said.

In addition, Pennsylvania would lose $26.4 million in funding for K-12 education and $21.4 million for secondary education. It also would lose $7.1 million for the environment and $5.1 million for health.

Six Pennsylvania airports could lose air traffic control service, including Capital City Airport and Lancaster Airport, according to an FAA list.

"We are watching very closely," Lancaster Airport Director David Eberly said.

It is not uncommon for airports to operate without tower service, Eberly said. At Lancaster Airport, planes take off and land outside the tower's operating hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Still, some commercial and corporate carriers prefer to operate at airports with controllers, he said.

Capital City Airport has “huge” safety concerns regarding the possible closure of its tower, given its traffic volume and proximity to Harrisburg International Airport, said Todd Smith, general manger of airport services provider CXY Aviation.

The sequester, which cuts federal spending by $85 billion this year and $1.2 trillion over 10 years, stems from the inability of Congressional Republicans and the White House to agree on a deficit reduction plan.

Its broad, across-the-board spending cuts were designed to be so unpalatable that lawmakers would be forced to negotiate a better plan before they took effect. Negotiations remain at a standstill, however, and most Capitol observers now see sequestration in some form as virtually inevitable.

The Washington Post has published an interactive graphic of the White House's state-by-state sequestration estimates.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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