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WIU Profs Say Sequester will Hit the State Hard

Rich Egger

A couple of experts believe the federal spending cuts known as the sequester will hit Illinois “harder than average.”Western Illinois University Economics Professor, William Polley, said Illinois will feel the pain of the cuts more because it lacks a robust economy to shield it.

Polley rejects that notion that the sequester is in response to a budget crisis. 

He said as an economist the manner of the cuts seem rather unwise.

He elaborated saying the across-the-aboard nature of the cuts will hit some agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, especially hard.

"Well what does that mean? That means you're going to have to take air traffic control towers that were open for many, many year throughout recessions and expansions and all the past little budget debacles that we've had and you're saying now because of this we have to close a couple hundred of them, that's ludicrous it's silly," Polley said.

The Chair of Western’s Political Science Department, Keith Boeckelman, said public blame for the sequester might trickle down from the federal to state level.

Credit Western Illinois University

"So if they see their schools losing funding or transportation funding cuts and things like that, they may be a second order effect of the sequester but people don't really realize that," Boeckelman said, "and they may not be able to make the connection so I think it's possible that some Illinois politicians could pay for the sins of federal politicians perhaps."

Boeckelman says in Illinois 33 million dollars will be cut from elementary and secondary education funding, 460 teachers will be laid off, and 2,700 students will lose access to Head Start.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.