The clock is ticking for Congress and President Barack Obama to make a deal to keep the country from falling off the so-called "fiscal cliff," which refers to the spending cuts and tax increases set to ring in the New Year. The current plan is intended to reduce the federal deficit, but A-list economists predict that it would push the nation back into a recession. Practically no state or municipality would be immune from the impact of the fiscal cliff. Governing has been tracking the issue since late last year. Here is a roundup of our coverage.
Watch a webinar on how states and localities can prepare for the fiscal cliff.
For the most recent overview of what the fiscal cliff means for state and local budgets, click here.
How would public health programs be impacted?
Over the last two fiscal years, federal funding for local public health efforts has been slashed by 8 percent and 34,000 local health department jobs have been eliminated. Advocates say more cuts could be catastropic. Read about the planned cuts to public health and what's being done to stop them.
Would sequestration cuts effect states' implementation of the Affordable Care Act?
More than 30 states have received federal grants to implement health insurance exchanges under the federal health-care reform law. If sequestration takes effect, it will eliminate $66 million from this pot of funding. Read about how that could impact how and whether states create health exchanges.
Under the current deal, Medicaid is actually exempt from the cuts set to take effect Jan. 2, 2013. But many analysts have speculated that a new deal could include Medicaid cuts. Read about what those cuts may be and how that could impact whether and how states expand Medicaid.
What else is exempt from sequestration?
The Children’s Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program and even highway programs. The budget deal includes other good news for states and localities. Read about it here.
What about public employees?
Education budgets took a big hit during the recession and unlike Medicaid, aren't exempt from sequestration cuts. Read about the effect they could have on teachers, students and special education.
According to a recent survey, state and local police officers will be facing layoffs and program closures if federal lawmakers don't reach a new deal. Read about what law enforcement programs could be cut here.
So what have state and local leaders been doing about it?
With all this in mind, mayors have made several attempts to urge Congress to strike a new deal. 130 mayors signed a letter calling sequestration "perhaps the biggest threat to our metro economies." Read about their biggest concerns.
This week, state legislators from across the country are convening in Washington to meet with federal lawmakers and try to make their case against the cuts. On Tuesday, the governors of Arkansas, Delaware, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin are scheduled to discuss the issue with the president.