Hassan: Federal sequester could mean N.H. National Guard furloughs
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, listens to panel discussion on âeducation and workforce: growing school leaders and teachersâ at the National Governors Association 2013 Winter Meeting in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
New Hampshire National Guard personnel could be furloughed and 6,000 jobs could be lost in the state if automatic federal budget cuts go into effect as scheduled starting Friday, Gov. Maggie Hassan warned yesterday.
“It may be that in the first few days . . . that we won’t feel the impact of these cuts all at once,” Hassan said. “But we will.”
Hassan, a Democrat, spoke to reporters by telephone from Washington, D.C., where she’s been since Friday for a meeting of the National Governors Association. She also met with White House officials and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
Hassan said she spoke with Sebelius about Medicaid expansion, a provision of President Obama’s 2010 health care reform law that Hassan included in her proposed two-year state budget.
But the big issue in the air is the so-called sequester, a system of automatic federal budget cuts that will go into effect starting Friday unless Obama and Congress can agree on an alternative plan to reduce the deficit.
Some federal programs, including Medicaid and Social Security, are exempt from the cuts.
Hassan said she hopes the sequester can be avoided but believes it could go into effect as planned. She said she’s reaching out to local governments and state agencies to discuss what may happen.
One possibility, she said yesterday, is that the National Guard could furlough workers.
That would affect civilian technicians, not so-called “Active Guard Reserve” personnel, though both are uniformed employees, said 1st Sgt. Mike Daigle, a New Hampshire National Guard spokesman.
“We don’t have any details at this time,” Daigle said. “However, we are planning for the possibility of furloughing our civilian technicians, as the rest of the federal government is planning on furloughing its civilian employees also.”
Hassan also said teachers could be laid off, needy children could lose access to day-care services and an estimated 6,000 jobs could be lost in the state.
“The impact of the sequester is real,” Hassan said.
The White House estimates New Hampshire will lose nearly $1.1 million in education funding this year due to the cuts, while an estimated 100 children would lose access to Head Start and Early Head Start programs, among other cuts.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
email@example.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)