Locally, the sequester, due to take affect March 1, would have drastically reduced the ability of Sheppard Air Force Base in flying to reduce fuel costs and programs like Patsy’s House, Meals on Wheels, The Kitchen, and Faith Mission. Only God knew what would’ve happened if these cuts were allowed. Everyone who ran scared forgot Jeremiah 29:11.
- Why did this happen? According to Congressman Mac Thornberry, during the summer of 2011, the Federal Government was supposed to clear out the debt ceiling, but they changed their mind raising it higher. In addition, they reduced proposed increases on government spending.
- How did these cuts affect Sheppard Air Force Base? The military’s job was to protect the nation and it’s citizens abroad. As a training base, the sequester made mandatory cuts to fuel costs and would’ve reduced flying at the base not associated with combat readiness. Thornberry also said that cutting defense spending was not the solution. He also said that the cost for federal defense spending, 2,000 per person, hadn’t changed since 1962. But domestic spending had gone up about $10,000. To avoid sequestration, Thornberry had proposed his own bill that would have delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act. One thing already cut by the Air Force, and affecting some military communities, was not having its air shows.
- How did these cuts affect services in the Wichita Falls community? Because of sequestration cuts, air travel would’ve affected everyone nationwide. The Federal Aviation Administration had a plan reducing $600 million for the remainder of the year. The cuts, slated for April, included furloughs for 47,000 employees for one day per pay period. Cuts would’ve shut down 100 air traffic control facilities and terminated overnight shifts at 60 facilities. Thankfully, these cuts didn’t harm Municipal Airport because of the large number of military flights in and out of that airport. But these cuts would’ve effected the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport on the list to have had some of its air traffic control towers shut down.
- According to Keri Goins, Executive Director of Patsy’s House, 47% of their budget came from the Federal Government. Cuts in their funding from sequestration would’ve slowed down their efforts to stop the raise of child abuse in Wichita County. Where they would’ve made the cuts was another concern. Also, she was afraid people might have stopped donating because of the tax incentives offered to anyone giving to non profit organizations.
- Meals on Wheels had the same problem. They served more than 800 low income people locally. With these cuts, they were to lose 10% of there budget which mostly came from donations, which were needed to stay operational. Another organization that was affected by these cuts was The Kitchen. Executive Director, Jackie Hamm, feared that they might not have been able to accommodate everyone that needed help as they had in the past. Faith Mission felt this too Virginia Green, their CFO, said cuts looming from the sequester would’ve affected donations. They received 100% of their funding due to the local community’s generosity. Cutting the charitable tax deduction could’ve stopped their ability in giving the homeless a place to stay and a hot meal.
- What were people supposed to do? Prayer helped. If no deal was reached on or before March 1, sequester happened, affecting the community in Wichita Falls. With everyone skittish about these cuts, they forgot Jeremiah 29:11, which read: “For I know the plans. I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV).