Federal funding cuts will force painful debates, choices

The Wichita City Council heard impassioned pleas Tuesday not to cut funding for neighborhood city halls and Project Access in the face of federal grant cuts. It’s sobering to realize that such painful debates are just the start, and will be replicated before local governing bodies nationwide, if Congress doesn’t avoid the mandatory, across-the-board sequestration cuts scheduled to go into effect March 1 – or even if it does by approving deep but targeted reductions in federal spending. A lot of important and effective programs at the local level have been fueled by federal dollars, and counties, cities and school districts will have to scramble to adapt. The money may evaporate, but the needs won’t. Whatever Congress does will put local leaders to the test.