Our View: Fiscal dysfunction impacts us

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 9:54 AM

Editorial Board

The dysfunctions of our political leaders — which led to the hasty, pork-ridden fiscal cliff compromise — portends the troubling future of deadlocks every couple of months in Congress, with the GOP House battling President Barack Obama and the Democratic Senate over budget cuts, tax hikes and debt limits.

But the sight of an impotent, quarreling Congress unable to pass long-lasting legislation is more than just a threat to the U.S. It has an adverse local impact. In the Top of Utah, school officials have no idea what their funding will be after March. The same concerns apply to those in charge of Hill Air Force Base.

That’s because automatic spending cuts are still planned for March. The end-of-the-year budget deal postponed the cuts. If the cuts occur, local schools will feel the impact of Title I funding cuts of 8 percent to 10 percent. In Davis and Weber counties, 37 schools are Title I schools.

If these schools see a reduction in federal funds, class sizes, interns, administrative staff, plus special education and lunches, all could be affected. The numbers are not small; in Ogden’s district, if the cuts go through a million-plus in dollars are impacted.

It’s very irresponsible for Congress and the administration to refuse to compromise, pass kick-the-can-down-the-road “compromises” and put schools in these kinds of budget dilemmas. The situation, budget-wise, is similar to Hill. If an additional $500 billion in defense cuts moves through in March, the 20,000 civilian employees who work at the Davis County military base will certainly be affected. Work furloughs are a strong possibility. Frankly, Hill is stuck in a guessing game, taking preparatory steps to deal with an uncertain future.

The dysfunction in D.C. affects the Top of Utah, its businesses, its schools, its base and many of our neighbors. It’s disgraceful that the political system is so broken that we can’t be sure of what’s going to happen in 90 days. They pass bills with pork for Goldman Sachs, Hollywood and other pets, but leave our schools and military bases wondering about what happens in March.

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