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Treasury official: Illinois would lose $33.4M if auto-cuts move forward

Illinois stands to get hit this year by sequestration as follows, according to information provided by the White House:

♦Lose $33.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting 460 teacher and teachers’ aides jobs at risk. About 39,000 fewer students and 120 fewer schools would get funding;

♦Lose $24.7 million for about 300 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities;

♦Obtain less money to help students. About 3,280 fewer low-income students in Illinois would receive aid to help them finance college costs, and 2,650 fewer students would get work-study jobs that help them pay for college;

♦About 2,700 children would lose all Head Start and Early Head Start services;

♦The state would lose $6.4 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality and to prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. The state could lose another $974,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection;

♦About 14,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by about $83.5 million in total. Army base operation funding would be cut by about $19 million; Air Force operations would see a $7 million cut and four planned Naval Station Great Lakes demolition projects worth $2 million could be canceled. Also, a scheduled Blue Angels show in Rockford would be canceled.

♦Illinois would lose $1.4 million in funding for job search assistance, referral and placement, meaning 50,780 fewer people would get help finding jobs.

♦Up to 1,100 disadvantaged children could lose access to child care.

♦About 5,230 fewer children would receive vaccines for measles, mumps, tetanus, whooping cough and other diseases because funding for vaccinations would be cut by $357,000.

♦Illinois would lose $968,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats, such as infectious diseases, natural disasters and biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological events.

♦Illinois would lose $3.5 million to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in 3,900 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs.

♦The Illinois Department of Public Health would lose $186,000, resulting in 4,600 fewer HIV tests.

♦Up to 1,000 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served because Illinois could lose up to $273,000 in funds for the STOP Violence Against Women program.

♦Illinois would lose $764,000 in funds to provide meals for seniors.

♦Illinois would lose $587,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Updated: March 27, 2013 6:21AM

Acting U.S. Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin warned that Illinois will suffer mightily if Congress fails to act on a spending plan and lets the so-called “sequester” — deep automatic federal spending cuts — go through as scheduled on Friday.

Illinois is set to lose $33.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting 460 teacher and teacher’s aides jobs at risk, affecting 39,000 students and 120 schools, and would lose $1.4 million in funding for job search assistance, referral and placement, meaning about 50,780 fewer people would get help finding employment, Wolin said in remarks delivered at the Chicago Club, sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who worked with Wolin in the Clinton White House, joked in introducing the secretary, “This is a far cry from our days in the Clinton administration. I used to yell at him. Now I have to introduce him.”

A native of Evanston, Wolin lauded Emanuel for his efforts to rehabilitate infrastructure, pointing to the Wells Street bridge reconstruction, because such efforts accelerate manufacturing re-shoring and job growth.

“By making these investments, you’re making Chicago more appealing to businesses and improving the quality of life for residents,” Wolin said. “Look at the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River. Like so many bridges in the country, this bridge was in need of repair. And the good news is, work is under way.”

Wolin also lauded President Barack Obama’s “Fix-It-First” program to put construction workers on the job as soon as possible to start urgent repairs. The President’s plan would set up a Partnership to Rebuild America program to attract private capital, rather than taxpayers’ dollars, to help pay for the upgrades.

Other Obama initiatives Wolin praised include a new Energy Security Trust Fund to “get our cars and trucks off oil completely;” investing in battery technology and wind and solar power; speeding up new permits to expand natural gas production, and making permanent the Research and Experimentation tax credit aimed at sparking innovation.

Wolin called on Congress to replace the “arbitrary and across-the-board cuts” before they cause serious harm to the middle class and to the economy.

Though he conceded that the country needs to “get our fiscal house in order,” he said the economy is in better shape now than when Obama took over four years ago and that the president has offered “a balanced, responsible plan” for reducing the deficit.

Wolin said President Obama’s blueprint to strengthen the economy by improving education mirrors what’s going on in Chicago.

On the day that Emanuel announced his plan to provide full-day kindergarten to 4,200 more Chicago Public School students, Wolin said during his talk that Obama “wants to make preschool education available to every child across America.”

“We know that every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars down the road in higher earnings that yield more revenue and lower government spending on social services and crime prevention,” Wolin said.

Wolin also pointed to the five high schools in Chicago that that teamed up with local colleges and with private companies to train students in skills the businesses need as examples of investing intelligently in secondary education. The six-year high schools give students two years of community-college education aimed at fulfilling companies’ needs for skilled workers. The schools are affiliated with IBM, Microsoft, Verizon, Cisco and Motorola Solutions.

Wolin has been acting secretary since Timothy Geithner left last month. Obama has nominated Jack Lew to be Treasury Secretary.

Wolin is a 1979 graduate of Evanston Township High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, his master’s from University of Oxford and his law degree from Yale Law School.

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