Sequester’s Impact on Ohio Unclear

CLEVELAND — As President Obama and leaders in Congress prepare for one final attempt to avoid $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts, the effects those cuts will have on Ohio – and the nation – remain unclear.

Barring a last-minute deal at a meeting on Friday, the cuts will begin to take effect Friday night at midnight.

They will affect discretionary spending and the defense department, but not Social Security or Medicare payments.

The Obama administration has predicted that, in education alone, the cuts could cost Ohio $25 million dollars and 350 jobs.

But it’s unclear over time how much impact the cuts will have on people – or the economy.

Democrats want a package of targeted spending cuts, and the closing of tax loopholes, in what they call a “balanced” approach to avoid the so-called “sequestration” cuts across the board.

But Republicans argue that the loophole provision is really a backdoor tax hike.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, who represents Ohio’s 10th District, says without closing loopholes, “the burden of deficit reduction falls entirely on vulnerable communities and the middle class.”

Republican Jim Renacci, who represents the 16th District, says both sides should be able to work together, saying targeted cuts would be better than the sequester, which he calls “bad for Ohio, and bad for America.”