TN braces for round of federal budget cuts - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

TN braces for round of federal budget cuts

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The sequestration will set into motion $85 billion worth of budget cuts, and while the president met with congressional leaders to try to find some common ground some local Tennesseans rallied to urge both sides to come to a compromise.

President Barack Obama made one last appeal to the public Friday as the sequestration cuts loomed large.

"We shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on," Obama said.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam estimates the state budget could see a cut of about $115 million, including nearly $15 million cut from education - money for teachers and programs that help both low-income students and special education students.

Some 1,600 fewer low-income students would get financial help for college, and about 1,200 children would be cut from Head Start early education programs.

"I think we should spend less, but I think this is an incredibly blunt instrument to do that with and I can't believe there's not a better approach," Haslam said.

A group that included retired high-ranking military members rallied outside of the Veterans Administration office Friday in Nashville. While the VA will be spared from sequestration, many of the services that veterans and active military depend on face the chopping block.

Those include furloughs for 7,000 civilian Department of Defense workers in Tennessee.

"The key component of our national security is not our F-35s or ships or tanks or anything like that. It's people," said veteran John Castellaw.

There are also some areas where local leaders aren't exactly sure how big of a hit they'll take. For instance, the White House has said emergency unemployment benefits would be cut, but it's not known whether it will be the amount of the check or the number of weeks people will be eligible.

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