The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

February 27, 2013

Manchin releases budget cut details

‘I just think there’s a smarter way to do it’

CHARLESTON — Automatic federal budget cuts set to take effect Friday would mean thousands of temporary layoffs for National Guard and civilian defense workers in West Virginia, along with reduced funding for programs such as education, the environment, and public health and safety, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday.

The West Virginia Democrat said on a conference call that he’s discouraged Congress hasn’t reached a long-term, bipartisan compromise, but he’s still “very hopeful” a deal can be completed before month’s end.

Manchin called the proposed widespread cuts “ludicrous.”

“I just think there’s a smarter way to do it,” he said. “Our safety, our commitment to our children and seniors, and our investment in our economic future are all in jeopardy.”

Manchin said 2,000 Department of Defense civilian employees in the state would be furloughed if the cuts occur. And 56 members of the West Virginia National Guard would be laid off immediately, while more than 900 state Guard members would have shorter work weeks.

He said the cuts would hit military installations and units across West Virginia, including “an unknown but significant” funding reduction at Camp Dawson, the National Guard’s training facility in Kingwood.

And in a state that has the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation, Manchin said the state would lose $430,000 in grants to prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in 600 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs.  In addition, the loss of $96,000 in justice assistance grants would curtail funding for state programs involving law enforcement, drug treatment and enforcement, prosecution and court services.

Last week, White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske attended seminars in Huntington and Charleston on state efforts to fight prescription drug abuse. He said the cuts across agencies, including funding for drug task forces that are widely used in West Virginia, have the potential to bring “some very significant problems.”

“Task forces and these combined (law enforcement) groups are often funded with federal dollars,” he said. “I would be very concerned about it.”

Manchin said among the education cuts in West Virginia include $5.8 million for supplemental programs that help low-income families and students, $3 million for Head Start programs, $3.9 million for special education, and $132,000 for technology services.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration would continue its coal mine inspection program, but other inspections, along with accident prevention and technical investigations, would be reduced.

Last week the Federal Aviation Administration warned it would have to close control towers at airports in Bridgeport, Huntington, Lewisburg, Parkersburg and Wheeling as part of its plan to trim $600 million in costs. The towers at Morgantown and Charleston would remain open, although overnight shifts would be eliminated.  Flights would still run, but they could be delayed.

Manchin said West Virginia would lose $488,000 in grants for fish and wildlife programs, in addition to being hit by cuts in overall environmental programs that promote water and air quality and cutting down on pesticide and hazardous waste pollution.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates the loss of more than $110,000 in grants that would enable West Virginia fire departments and other emergency personnel obtain equipment, training and other resources. Manchin said an additional $177,000 in cuts would diminish the state’s response to public health threats.

Manchin said other cuts would jeopardize food safety inspection facilities, eliminate financial aid for 200-low income students and job-search assistance for residents, including military veterans, and reduce funding for domestic violence, child immunization and senior nutrition programs.

 

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Symptoms match with spilled chemical

    For two weeks following a January chemical spill into the public water supply, hundreds of West Virginians examined in emergency rooms had ailments consistent with exposure to the chemical, health officials said Wednesday.
    Federal toxic substance experts and the state Bureau for Public Health stopped short of saying that their analysis determined without a doubt that patients’ problems stemmed from chemical contact.

    April 24, 2014

  • West Virginia chemical safe level following spill based on two weeks

    When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by a January spill, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads