Virginians talk about impact of sequester

virginia-blue-oversizeVirginia Organizing hosted on Monday a telemedia conference to respond to the devastating budget cuts related to sequestration. People from across Virginia who are directly affected by these cuts spoke about their concerns.

Susan Scheffler, owner of Nickell’s and Scheffler Fine Food in Alexandria said, “This sequestration is not a ‘fiscal slope’ as some politicians are calling it, it’s a cliff. We got through the recession, but we are already seeing sales drop because of financial crises in Washington and it’s hurting our business.”

“The immediate and long-term effects of sequestration on Head Start and other Virginia preschool initiatives are troublesome,” said Stella Edwards, PTA Program Chair for Westview Early Childhood Education Center in Petersburg.

“We established the importance of early childhood education for low-income children. To deny children this opportunity only furthers the negative impact on student academic success, workforce readiness and our economy,” said Edwards.

Johnny Mayo of Danville agrees that the cuts are harmful for already vulnerable areas like Southside Virginia. “Danville has already been hit with factory closings and other economic challenges. We’ve had to close schools so the wealthy can keep getting tax breaks. Now, we have to cut even more because Wall Street and big corporations want to keep their taxes low to pay CEOs more.”

Virginia Organizing, a state affiliate of Americans for Tax Fairness, has been focusing on the potential for drastic and devastating budget cuts since late 2012 and has taken action in Congressional districts statewide to ask Members of Congress to avoid cutting programs that aid families and those most in need.

Virginia Organizing has also called on Congress, especially U.S. Senator Mark Warner, to consider revenue increases so families would not bear the burden of these cuts.

Most recently, Virginia Organizing leaders met with U.S. Representative Robert Hurt’s office asking that no cuts be made to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and held demonstrations at U.S. Representative Randy Forbes’ office and at Northrop Grummon.

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