• Sequestration cuts deepest for Ga. military, schools, parks


    Unless Congress and the president act by Friday, $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts will kick in.

    During a meeting Monday, President Barack Obama will plead with governors from across the nation to help end the stalemate over sequestration, which would directly affect funding for state programs. Over the weekend, Obama laid out how the cuts would affect each state.

    With Friday's deadline nearing, few in the nation's capital were optimistic that a realistic alternative could be found and all sought to cast the political process itself as the culprit. If Congress does not step in, a top-to-bottom series of cuts will be spread across domestic and defense agencies in a way that would fundamentally change how government serves its people.

    In Georgia, the cuts would have the biggest impact on the military, with $190 million lost in pay. The state would also see a reduction of nearly $29 million in school funding, and national parks would also feel the cuts.

    Nearly 2 million people visited Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park last year. If the automatic budget cuts go through, visitors will see a difference in park operations the next time they visit.

    Changes could include closed restrooms, canceled park tours and discontinuation of the cannon shootings, which are part of the rich history at the park.

    Visitors told Channel 2 they would like to see the park start charging a fee so it does not have to depend on government money for its operating costs.

    If the March 1 cuts go through, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park will lose 5 percent of its budget, $83,000.

    Park officials said they’re already short-staffed, with just 14 full-time employees.

    The White House compiled the state-by-state reports from federal agencies and its own budget office. The numbers reflect the impact of the cuts this year. Unless Congress acts by Friday, $85 billion in cuts are set to take effect from March to September.

    Republican leaders were not impressed by the reports for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    "The White House needs to spend less time explaining to the press how bad the sequester will be and more time actually working to stop it," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

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