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Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 12:19pm

Spending Freeze Includes Georgia

The President's plan to freeze federal spending could effect everything from transportation to schools in Georgia.

President Obama laid out the spending freeze in his State of the Union address.

Georgia will spend about about $11 billion of federal money in the coming year.

The largest part goes to Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled.

Those programs would lose under a federal freeze.

But it also could mean millions of dollars lost in wages to federal employees, like those in the military.

Near Ft. Stewart, Hineville Mayor Jim Thomas says, he can live with it if it tackles a bigger looming problem, the federal deficit.

"We learn to cope with those things just like the deployments that we have," Thomas says. "We might not necessarily like them but we realize that that's what our nation is doing right now."

About a billion federal dollars prop up Georgia schools each year.

Nikki Garcia of the Savannah-Chatham Public Schools special education program says, her district spends about about $7 million federal dollars a year on special education alone.

"I can tell you right now that when the simulus funds are over, we are definitely going to experience some hardship," Garcia says. "So, if the federal government either freezes or lowers the amount of money that we get, it's just going to create an even bigger problem."

The Savannah district spends about $10 million dollars a year from the federal government on school nutrition.

And those are just a few of the potential places the federal government can cut in Georgia.

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