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How would your state fare under sequestration?

Sequester, the implementation of automatic federal spending cuts to both domestic and defense programs, is set to take effect Friday, March 1, unless Congress acts.

Sequestration graphic via House Budget Committee

We've been here many times before, in a political game of fiscal chicken that usually ends with some sort of uneasy compromise before the worst-case scenario fully kicks in.

Will that happen this time? My Congressional crystal ball is so shattered I am not venturing any prediction.

But this time there's a new player in the game. Actually, there are 51 new players: the 50 states and the District of Columbia. And the state leaders are bracing for sequestration effects.

Meeting amid the mess: The nation's governors had no way of knowing when they scheduled this year's National Governors Association annual meeting in D.C. that they would be in the midst of a national fiscal fight.

But the coincidental convergence of their gathering this weekend (they wrap up meetings today) and the impending federal cuts has now become a weapon in the battle.

Many governors say that just the threat of cuts has already damaged their economies. What will happen if the cuts go through? The states that are beginning to recover from the recession would likely lose most if not all the ground they're regained.

Jack Markell, Democratic governor of Delaware and chairman of the National Governors Association, told Fox News Sunday that sequestration would have "a real big impact on the economy and jobs."

How big? The White House did the math for Delaware and the rest of the country and has issued a fact sheet for each jurisdiction showing how the projected effects would affect each:

Alabama Kentucky North Dakota
Alaska Louisiana Ohio
Arizona Maine Oklahoma
Arkansas Maryland Oregon
California Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
Mississippi South Dakota
District of Columbia
Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico
West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming

Comparing sequestration effects: While it's instructive to see what the Obama Administration says will be threatened, such as defense-related jobs and education programs, in each state -- your state -- if the cuts go through, it's also fun to see if your state would come though more or less scathed than others.

So that you don't have to reach each of the 51 sequestration fact sheets, the Washington Post has taken the data and put it into easy-to-read and sortable tables.

You can look at how the states compare as to the effect of impending cuts on teachers and schools; work-study jobs; Head Start; job-search assistance; military readiness; law enforcement; child care; vaccines for children; public health; nutrition assistance for seniors; STOP Violence Against Women Program; and clean air and water.

Have fun. Check out your neighboring states' data. Evaluate the numbers.

And let your lawmakers know whether you're OK with your state losing that much money and jobs in certain areas or whether you want the spending cuts stopped in the next five days.

You also might find these items of interest:


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Tom, thanks for reading and for your thoughts about the coming sequester and the ongoing debate. What's that old saying, figures don't lie, but liars figure? Yes, the White House does spin the numbers and the preface to each page is political, but there is data in the fact sheets. I trust readers can read what cuts are likely in their states and decide if they are worth it in exchange for less federal expenditures. I'm sure that in some areas some states, leaders and residents, would accept the losses without too much complaint. And that's the point. What is going to be hit, by how much, and how much are we willing to accept. Similarly, if the state analyses offer some basis for discussions among lawmakers at state and federal levels as to what to cut and where new revenue, if any, is needed, then they have served some larger purpose.

Tom in Indiana

Kay, I am an almost daily reader of your blog and have learned a lot about taxes by doing so. It is clear that politically you lean to the left and that is certainly your right (no pun intended), but posting this White House propaganda in your blog is a bit over the top. Clearly this information was not put together to actually inform the citizenry, but to promote fear and loathing of those greedy, evil Republicans who supposedly want to hurt everybody and take away their stuff. President Obama's White House was a proponent of the sequestration plan and should have the intellectual integrity to admit it instead of trying to blame everything on those evil Republicans. I am not one of the 1%, but we did just raise their income tax rate, their capital gains rate, and added an ObamaCare tax especially for them. Many states are doing the same. Now the President says we need a fair and balanced approach to the deficit that includes tax increases on the wealthy and spending reductions. The tax increases have already happened. Where are the spending reductions?

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