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Sequestration blues

Published February 19, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts of sequestration loom, their impacts are felt by many.

I work seasonally in the National Park Service where 39 percent of its employees are seasonal — technicians, rangers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. No aspect of the public's experience isn't directly related to a seasonal employee.

I currently have more than 20 job applications pending across the West. If Congress allows sequestration to occur, most seasonal positions will disappear. I'm already seeing a freeze in hiring.

Utah tourism is a $7 billion industry, driven by our incredible landscapes, anchored by our national parks. Rural Utah depends on those dollars; a decrease in services will have ripple effects.

Members of Congress have passed legislation to forgo their paychecks if sequestration occurs. This is a start, but it's not enough.

If sequestration happens, cuts should begin with their congressional staffs so they can look into the eyes of people they work with on a daily basis and explain why ideology trumps buying food, paying the rent and planning for the future.

David Firmage

Salt Lake City