The United States of Sequestration

It’s not just White House tours and airplanes. Here’s how budget cuts are hurting people in 50 states.

<a href="">Maximus256</a>/Shutterstock; <a href="">Francesco Corticchia</a>/Shutterstock

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Starting March 1, federal programs and their state and local beneficiaries began grappling with $85.4 billion in cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Some programs have been spared—Congress voted to restore tuition assistance for members of the armed services and, just last week, restored funding to the Federal Aviation Administration to forestall flight-delaying furloughs. But for the most part, the cuts have remained intact. Six weeks in, we took a look at how sequestration is has impacted 50 states, from canceled festivals to shuttered Head Start programs to massive layoffs.


Birmingham: North Albama public defenders office furloughing 11 of 15 employees.

Huntsville: Huntsville Housing Authority, which provides heating, plumbing, and financial assistance, to serve 300 fewer people.

Jefferson County: Head Start program closing for 10 weeks, affecting 276 kids. Fifteen staffers will be furloughed.


Sitka: Bill Brady Healing Center, which treats Native Alaskans for drug and alcohol addiction, closed as part of $3.5 million in cuts to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corporation.

Fairbanks: Alaska Volcano Observatory is cutting back on volcano and earthquake monitoring.

Eielson Air Force Base: 18th Aggressor Squadron will be grounded until the end of the fiscal year.


Window Rock: School district eliminated 40 positions due to budget cuts, considering eliminating 65 more and closing three schools.

Holbrook: Hiring freeze at Petrified Forest National Park delays filling five spots.

Phoenix: 30 research engineers at a defense contractor laid off.


Fayetteville: Head Start program ends 13 days early.

Hot Springs: Campgrounds at Hot Springs National Park are closed for the summer, hours of operation will be scaled back, and rangers won’t plant any trees despite losing thousands of them in the park in last winter’s storms.

Forrest City: Federal prison curtailing drug treatment and vocational programs, furloughing employees.


Bakersfield: Community Action Partnership of Kern, which receives 77 percent of its funding from Washington, forced to shut down its 44 Head Start programs two weeks early.

Eureka: Federal courts will begin mandating one furlough per month at locations in San Francisco, San Jose, and the Lost Coast.

San Diego: Shipbuilder Continental Maritime laid off 185 employees.


Estes Park: More than $600,000 in cuts forces Rocky Mountain National Park to close Glacier Basin Campground for the summer, and leave the famous Trail Ridge Road inaccessible.

Denver: US District Court announced mandatory furloughs in April.

Colorado Springs: Intelligent Software Solutions Inc. laid off 40 employees in March after its Air Force contract was put on ice.


Bristol: Housing authority reduces funding for Section 8 vouchers by 8 percent, lengthening the waiting list.

Manchester: Private medical practice informs patients it can no longer treat people who are on Medicare.

Hartford: Employees at public defenders office furloughed 28 days between April 1 and September 30.


Dover: Sequester cuts limiting the number of grants available to incoming students at Delaware State University.

Dover: 700 civilian employees at Dover Air Force Base to be furloughed beginning in April.

Wilmington: 52 employees of Delaware Hospice laid off in part due to cuts to Medicare reimbursements.


Seville: Head Start program closing for summer two weeks early.

Brooksville: Head Start program won’t reduce the number of kids it serves—but it’ll stop paying into employees’ retirement accounts beginning in April, affecting 225 people.

Fort Myers: Lee County school district to lay off 100 employees, including 15 teachers.


Atlanta: MLK National Historic Site reducing number of student employees, and freezing hiring for key spots.

Atlanta: Funding for a cancer research project at Emory University reduced from 12 months to 6.

Albany: 10 disability aides and three family service workers will be laid off due to cuts to the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council.


Volcano: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park canceling teacher workshops, not hiring summer staff.

Honolulu: Hawaii Air National Guard grounded flying exercises for two weeks.

Honolulu: Rail project loses $14 million in funding.


Mountain Home: F-15E Strike Eagle planes at Mountain Home Air Force Base are grounded until October 1.

Lapwai: Water gauge on Lapwai Creek one of three USGS gauges being closed in the state, affecting agriculture industries and flood control.

Boise: 800 civilian technicians at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base will take two-week furloughs.


Belleville: 1,300 civilian employees of the Illinois National Guard and Air National Guard to take unpaid two-week furloughs in June.

Rock Island: 175 employees of the Army’s Rock Island Arsenal being laid off or seeing their contracts expire.

Granite City: School board lays off nine teachers due to budget cuts.


Bloomington: Head Start program in Monroe County ending one month early, eliminating 12 spots and laying off 15 employees.

Columbus: Holding a lottery to determine who will remain in the local Head Start program after 36 slots were cut in two cities.

Indianapolis: 1,000 military technicians to take once-a-week furloughs.


Sioux City: Five special-ed staffers, 12 reading staffers, and 15 staffers with the Early Intervention Block Grant program were laid off.

Dubuque: New Section 8 housing vouchers put on hold.

Muscatine: Head Start programs closing 12 days early in Scott, Clinton, Cedar, and Muscatine Counties, affecting 420 kids.


Wichita: Head Start services stopped for 71 kids, and 10 staff positions have been eliminated.

Topeka: A 14 percent drop in funding for Kansas’ federal court is creating a backlog in cases, and longer delays before defendants can meet with their lawyers.

Eureka: Head Start program closed for good.


Henderson: Head Start ending its program a month early.

Lexington: Ceradyne, which manufactures ceramics for body armor, laid off nearly 100 workers.

Newport: Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission is closing its eight locations for low-income families on Fridays.


Barksdale Air Force Base: 10 employees of the STEM outreach program Starbase Louisiana facing layoffs unless funding is restored.

Natchitoches: Staff reduced at Cane River Creole National Historical Park.

New Orleans: New Orleans Housing Authority recalling 700 Section 8 vouchers for low-income families.


Bath: Head Start program closing eight days early.

Portland: Maine Public Broadcasting to lay off 10 employees, in part due to sequestration.

Rockland: Meals on Wheels program for seniors serving fewer meals and implementing a waiting list. Methodist Conference Home eliminating noontime meal program.


Baltimore: Public defenders began serving two-week furloughs in April, after seeing budget slashed $500,000.

Adelphi: 2,000 civilian technicians received one-day-a-week furloughs, starting in April.

Fort Meade: 900 civilian technicians scheduled to receive 22-day furloughs.


Martha’s Vineyard: Ended Head Start one month early; plans on starting it one month late.

Boston: Employees in public defender’s offices furloughed for 16.5 days.

Natick: 1,500 employees at US Army Natick Soldier Systems Center will see their put cut by 20 percent, will release 57 student employees, and let 71 contracts expire.


Escanaba: Head Start programs closing three and a half weeks early in Menominee, Delta, and Schoolcraft counties, affecting 245 families.

Glen Arbor: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore seasonal staff reduced by five.

Marquette: Head Start programs closing three weeks early in Marquette and Alger county.


Cloquet: Fon du Lac Objiwe School laid off five teachers (including two special-education staffers), made three teachers part time, and increased class sizes after losing $410,000 in funding.

International Falls: Delays in snow removal at Voyageurs National Park.

Red Lake: White Earth Reservation forced to lay off security guards in district that was the site of a 2005 school shooting that left seven students dead in 2005.


Jackson County: Head Start closing two weeks early, affecting 717 kids.

Oxford: Public defenders accepting furloughs and pay cuts.

Tupelo: Natchez Trace Parkway not hiring 15 seasonal employees or filling five full-time vacancies.


St. Charles: Head Start facility closed on April 12, while reducing the number of kids served by 65, and laying off 18 staffers.

Ironton: Iron County Head Start closing three weeks early due to budget cuts.

Brookline: Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield eliminating its Youth Conservation Corps program for inner-city kids.


Poplar: Fort Peck Indian Reservation can’t hire a reading teacher, although half the kids ride below grade level; it can’t hire a second guidance counselor despite 20 suicide attempts.

Fort Peck: Workers at Army Corps of Engineers dam notified by email that they will be forced to take unpaid leave.

Kalispell: Glacier Oncology, the state’s only private cancer clinic, says patients will have to travel to Washington, DC, for treatment.


Omaha: Public defender’s office laid off four employees.

Bellevue: Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show, which normally draws 150,000 people to Offutt Air Force Base, has been canceled.

Beatrice: 5 percent cuts at Homestead National Monument have forced the park to cut youth staff and eliminate summer ranger positions.


Reno: National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center scaling back weekend hours.

Nellis Air Force Base: 600 civilian technicians to be furloughed in April.

Reno: Washoe County School District laying off five special education staffers.

New Hampshire

Portsmouth: Funding for the Naval shipyard’s STEM outreach program to middle- and high school girls has been eliminated.

Berlin: National Guard civilian technicians here among 700 who will receive a 22 percent pay cut from now until September.

Concord: Emergency unemployment benefits will be cut by 17 percent starting April 28.

New Jersey

Layton: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area hiring 17 fewer people during summer months.

Paterson: Froze Section 8 housing voucher program, dipped into reserves to offset $232,000 in cuts.

Morristown: Morris County Head Start program considering laying off five teachers and reducing the number of students served by as many as 34.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: 300 patients at Cancer Center informed they’ll have to go elsewhere due to Medicare cuts.

Farmington: 15 vacant positions at the Bureau of Land Management will go unfilled.

Los Alamos: 14 of 60 employees at Bandelier National Monument received furlough notices.

New York

Buffalo: US District Court for the Western District of New York no longer hearing criminal cases on Fridays; staffers at public defender’s office will receive staggered 22-day furloughs.

Rochester: Housing authority cutting 600 vouchers after losing $2.5 million in funding.

Suffolk County: North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates reduced the number of Medicare patients it treated by 1/3.

North Carolina

Belmont: Allegany County Head Start program ending one week early, staff losing between a week and a month of work.

Goldsboro: F-15E squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base grounded.

Greensboro: Industries for the Blind, which gets 98 percent of its business from the government and has a mostly blind workforce, laid off 40 employees.

North Dakota

Medora: Painted Canyon Overlook, one of the most popular sites at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, is closed indefinitely.

Devils Lake: 70 Air National Guard civilian technicians to be furloughed in May.

Fargo: The Fargo AirSho, which draws 30,000 visitors annually, may be canceled after the Blue Angels were grounded for the summer.


Tiffin: Head Start program closing one week early; 140 staff to be laid off over four-county area; 1,100 kids affected.

Cincinnati: Cuts to the General Services Administration led to 28 layoffs at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Industries Progam.

Cincinnati: 200 kids are being dropped from the city’s Head Start program.


Oklahoma City: Six Head Start employees laid off.

Tulsa: State department of labor closing its city office, leaving 11 employees the choice of taking a buyout or relocating.

Lawton: 26 Northrop Grumman employees received layoff notices in March due to the impending expiration of a DoD contract.


Portland: Navy announces it’s skipping the city’s annual Rose Festival.

Hyatt Lake: Bureau of Land Management recreation area opening late because it can’t afford to clear the snow.

Newport: Yaquina Head Lighthouse closed to tours, due to cuts at the Bureau of Land Management.


Wilkes-Barre: $400,000 cut to local Head Start program will reduce the rolls by 49 kids.

Tobyhanna: 418 people laid off at Army munitions depot.

Stoystown: 9/11 memorial starting summer tour hours one month late.

Rhode Island

Johnston: Head Start program on Hartford Avenue closing. Others shutting down a month early.

Providence: Federal public defenders facing three-week furloughs, leading some to request permission to take second jobs.

Quonset: Annual air show, a major commercial boon and fundraising tool, has been canceled.

South Carolina

Charleston: Charleston Cancer Center having difficulty treating patients.

Sumter: 20 F-16s at Shaw Air Force Base have been grounded.

Orangeburg: US Army Field Band cancels outdoor concert.

South Dakota

Scenic: Season staff reduced by 24 percent at Badlands National Park.

Fort Thompson: Workers at Army Corps of Engineers power plant received emails notifying them they’d be forced to take unpaid leave.

Custer: Elk Mountain campground closed at Wind Cave National Park, eliminating 64 sites and two seasonal employees.


Knoxville: A 5 percent drop in federal financial aid funding means the University of Tennessee will offer 33 fewer scholarship awards next fall.

Tullahoma: Aerospace Testing Alliance cutting 128 positions, giving employees until April 19 to find a new job. About 2,200 workers will see their pay docked 20 percent.

Tellico Plains: Army contractor Tellico Services Inc. furloughs 85 of 200 employees indefinitely, due to lack of orders from the Department of Defense.


Dallas: Public defender’s office will be closed every Friday for six months.

Texarkana: 414 workers at Red River Army Depot laid off in March.

Leander: Massive funding cuts will lead to a reduction of between 4,800 to 7,700 meals for seniors.


Tooele: Two entire county departments, totaling 23 people, were laid off.

Murray: Salt Lake Community Action Program closed a food pantry, which worked with four other branches to serve 1,000 people.

Salt Lake City: Unemployment assistance cut by 12.8 percent, beginning April 28, affecting 4,000 people.


Burlington: School district considering eliminating up to 40 positions due to massive budget cuts.

North Bennington: AmeriCorps VISTA position eliminated, putting on ice plans to expand summer camp program.

Brattleboro: Housing authority informed tenants it will cut low-income subsidies.


Fancy Gap: 400 campsites closed on the Blue Ridge Parkway; 40 seasonal positions eliminated.

Roanoke: Blue Ridge Public Broadcasting shuts down two transmitters, reducing local access to public radio in southwest Virginia and east Tennessee.

Reston: Serco Inc. sent out potential layoff notices to 770 employees in Northern Virginia and Maryland.


Seattle: Federal public defenders began serving up to 14 days of furloughs in March; will be closed on Fridays.

Hanford: 200 members of the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council—whose work involves cleaning up the nation’s worst nuclear site—have received layoff notices.

Walla Walla: Army Corps of Engineers employees received furlough notices in February.

West Virginia

Davis: Youth Conservation Corps program at Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge canceled, eliminating six to eight student positions.

Alderson: Main Street program is one of five VISTA anti-poverty programs that has been put on hold in West Virginia. 47 positions will be lost in the state unless funding is restored.

Martinsburg: 98 contractors at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were laid off in April.


Manitowoc: US Air Force Thunderbird jets pulled out of Lakeshore Airshow.

Oshkosh: Defense contractor Oshkosh Corp. cutting 900 jobs due to sequestration cuts.

Madison: Public defender’s offices in the state capital and two other cities to begin furloughs.


Cheyenne: State losing $53 million in mineral payments from the federal government.

Camp Guernsey: Civilian technicians with the Wyoming National Guard receiving 14-day furloughs.

Cheyenne: US Geological Survey shutting down drought and flood detectors on the Bighorn, Belle Fourche, North Platte, and Green River basins.


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Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

Yet, we just came up pretty short on our first big fundraising campaign since Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting joined forces.

So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

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