Mayors see sequester cutting schools, roads, jobs

By Lauren French / POLITICO.com

Defense cuts and tax hikes get most of the attention when Congress talks about the devastating effects the fiscal cliff could have on the economy.

But if you ask many mayors and local lawmakers how it could affect their states and towns, you’ll hear about cuts to education programs. And infrastructure bonds. And food stamps for children.

And how state and local officials fear taking the political blame for drastic cuts to hometown services, when it was Congress that created — and has thus far avoided — fixing the financial mess born last year from the Budget Control Act.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat who is currently the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said the scheduled spending sequester will depress state and local budgets that rely on extra funding from the federal government to provide security, nutritional or other basic services to citizens.

The mayors have been pressuring Congress to pass a bipartisan, revenue-raising stopper to sequestration. But as the end of the calendar year looms, the conference is also trying to inform the public about why there may be fewer police officers or firefighters on the job next year.

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