Federal sequester may impact Oneida budget planning
By Dawn Walschinski
The federal government is planning to
cut $85 billion from its budget this fiscal year as part of sequestration, but
the initial impact to Oneida should be minimal according to Oneida Business
Committee (OBC) Treasurer Tina Danforth.
The cuts are split between national
defense and non-defense which results in a five percent cut to programs such as
Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development,
and other programs.
“Medicaid, Medicare will be more on an
individual basis than a program, but we might see a reduction in third party
billing,” she said.
Oneida Headstart received a notice
concerning the financial cut as did other Headstart programs, however, Danforth
is taking a wait and see approach to any other proposed cuts which may not
start until April if a continuing resolution can’t be agreed upon by the Obama
administration and Congress.
One bright spot is that there are no
plans to cut Veterans Affairs funding.
“It’s nice that the veterans’ programs
and services will be untouched,” she said.
Danforth explained that the five
percent cuts will be spread over the country, and so Oneida won’t feel a huge
impact, but still has to deal with its own budget problems.
“If any grants or federal funding are
cut at the 5% level that trickles down to the tribal level, there are no funds
to replace that, especially for this year,” she said.
The OBC is starting to plan the FY2014
budget and will be holding community meetings to get input from its citizens.
“The committee and the community have
an opportunity to weigh in prior to the budget being formulated as far as 2014,
so we’re at least going to listen,” she said.
According to Danforth, there will be
some hard decisions to make.
“We have cut everything we
can to the bone as far as any kind of discretionary funding, and now we need to
look beyond that,” she said. “This
is really going to be the year we’re going to make cuts beyond discretionary