How Will the Sequester Effect the NYC Housing Authority?

By Charles Fisher and Randy Fisher @HHSYC


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NYCHAsequester1After meeting with seasoned NYCHA executives over the last several days we discovered that the much talked about “Sequester” may have a real detrimental affect on the lives of NYCHA residents, staff, and the surrounding community.  Many thought that this was just talk, but the budget cuts are taking place and the lives of the staff and residents are changing every day.  Next week we will be able to give you an in-depth assessment on what and who will be affected, as well as options you can pursue to avoid a lot of drama.

To get a better understanding of what is about to take place we will provide the complete meaning of the word Sequester!  Sequestration is a term used to describe the practice of using mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget if the cost of running the government exceeds the amount it takes in during the fiscal year.  Simply put, sequestration is the implementation of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in the face of annual budget deficits.  The Congressional Research Service defines sequestration this way:  In general, “Sequestration” entails the reduction of all programs, projects, and activities within the budget.

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Know Your Government

The Sequester is a product of our Government, so let’s take a look at the system and players that control the game.  You can’t play the game if you don’t know the “policies and players that operate it.” Stop, look and master the system that controls your life.  You can only change what you understand.

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Sequestration History

The idea of imposing automatic spending cuts in the federal budget was first put in place by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.  Sequestration is largely a deterrent, and a relatively successful one at that.  “The prospect of sequestration has thus come to seem so catastrophic that Congress so far has been unwilling actually to let it happen,” Auburn University political science professor Paul M. Johnson wrote.

Modern Examples of Sequestration

Sequestration was used in the Budget Control Act of 2011 to encourage Congress to reduce the annual deficit by $1.2 trillion by the end of 2012.  The thought behind the NYCHAsequester3policy was that if lawmakers failed to do so, the law would have triggered automatic budget cuts to the 2013 national security budget.

A “Super Congress” made up of a select group of 12 members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate was chosen in 2011 to identify ways to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Super Congress failed to reach an agreement, however, this failure is what triggered the much talked about Sequester.

Opposition to Sequestration

Some lawmakers who initially championed sequestration as a method of reducing the deficit later expressed concern because of the programs that faced spending cuts.  House Speaker John Boehner, for example, supported the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 but backtracked in 2012, saying the cuts represented a “serious threat to our national security and must be replaced.”

NYCHAsequester4Exemptions From Sequestration

The current “Sequestration” offers exemptions and certain programs and activities are exempt, while some are not.  Sequestration can also occur under the “Pay As You Go Act” of 2010, with some exceptions.  Under that law the federal government must continue to pay out for Social Security, unemployment and veterans benefits, and the low-income entitlements such as Medicaid, food stamps and Supplemental Security Income.  Medicare, however, is subject to automatic cuts under sequestration, but its spending cannot be reduced by more than 2%, however.  Also exempt from sequestration are Congressional salaries.

Final Note:

We hope this wisdom gives you a better understanding of the “Word You Have Been Hearing for Months” without knowing its origin, cause and full meaning.  Next week we will give you part (1) of (2) on the effects of the Sequester on NYCHA.  If you want info on how the Sequester may affect you and your development holla at us at: Facebook.com/HHSYC.