By Joe King, [email protected]

Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals. (The Herald/Archive Photo)

Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals. (The Herald/Archive Photo)

As members of Congress continue to debate the effects of Federal sequestration, the local impact of such cuts may produce varying results.

Of the $85 million of cuts that will go into effect Mar. 1 unless Democrats and Republicans reach a working compromise, ,some of the complaints those opposed to those measures are a decrease in school funding and the overcrowding of county jails. However, both of the Sevier County versions of these institutions don’t see any immediate changes coming to the area.

“We don’t have enough information about the funding to make a comment about sequestration,” said Sevier County Schools Assistant Superintendent Debra Cline.

Similarly, Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals doesn’t view sequestration as an immediate issue for Sevier County.

“The only thing I see this effecting is maybe grants down the road,” he said. “We don’t have any federal prisoners in our facility.”

On the political side of the issue U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, who represents Seymour as part of his district, said he is in favor of budget cuts but hasn’t thrown his support behind this specific sequestration.

Congressman Phil Roe represents Seymour as part of the Tennessee's First District. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

Congressman Phil Roe represents Seymour as part of the Tennessee’s First District. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

“I have voted to replace these cuts with reforms that target waste, fraud and abuse in our mandatory spending programs, but the Senate has not passed anything that replaces the sequester with more targeted reforms,” Roe said. “These across-the-board cuts are not the ideal way to get our spending under control, but because of the president’s insistence on higher taxes and higher spending, these cuts are likely to go into effect.  East Tennesseans know our problem isn’t that we tax too little, it’s that we spend too much.”

Roe added that House Republicans are working on legislation that would give each agency additional flexibility to meet the sequester by targeting wasteful spending and lower-priority items, such as office supplies, rather than cut from personnel budgets.

“Sequestration, which was proposed by the Administration in negotiations over the debt ceiling in 2011, will affect almost every program that receives federal funding,” he said. “I hope the president and Senate will act with greater urgency to replace the sequester with more sensible reforms.”

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