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Federal cuts hit Indiana jobless, National Guard

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 7:54 am

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana agencies are cutting jobless benefits, furloughing National Guard members and losing food funds for the Women Infants and Children program because of the automatic federal budget cuts, officials said Monday.

The state will cut jobless benefits by 10.7 percent for 33,000 people starting March 31, Gov. Mike Pence's office said in a news release.

The automatic spending cuts took effect Friday, slashing $85 billion from the nation's budget. U.S. lawmakers say they want to undo the cuts so that federal programs can be spared but are divided over whether higher taxes should be used to pay for them.

Pence's office said that because of the cuts, the Indiana National Guard will put 1,000 full-time Army and Air National Guard military technicians on unpaid furlough one day a week from the end of April through September. The guard also will hold off on awarding $30 million in military construction projects at Terre Haute and South Bend for fiscal year 2013.

The WIC program will be cut by $4.1 million, but the state plans to continue full benefits because of its low transportation cost, administrative cuts of $1.6 million and a declining caseload, Pence's office said.

The Indiana Department of Labor will lose matching dollars for the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Department of Workforce Development will lose $1.1 million for job seeker services and $515,000 for other programs, it said.

Some state agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Family and Social Services Administration, and the State Department of Health, have not received guidance from the federal government about how cuts affecting them will be administered.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Environmental Management, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Revenue, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will see little if any impact, it said.