Sequester Cuts and WNY

March 2, 2013 Updated Mar 2, 2013 at 12:38 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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March 2, 2013 Updated Mar 2, 2013 at 12:38 AM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) No deal means automatic spending cuts totaling 85 billion dollars, to take effect at midnight on March 1st. That number is a national figure, but local elected officials spoke out on Friday on how it would affect Western New York.

Just hours before the sequester cuts were scheduled to take effect, local leaders were out in force with their opinions on the federal action hitting us here at home.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says federal cuts will mean less money for local programs like Meals on Wheels to seniors, the home energy assistance program or HEAP, and community development grants.

"So while they may not be cutting medicare and food stamps, they are cutting programs that provide food for the neediest individuals, that ensure that someone has not only a roof over their house, but that that roof is heated," Poloncarz said.

Newly elected Congressman Chris Collins spoke out at the Niagara Falls Air Base, proposing a plan to save the defense budget and potentially the airbase itself, from falling victim to the across-the-board cuts.

"When it comes to some tough cuts in spending in the military, the Niagara Falls Air Base stands out as a mission that is critical to the defense of this country," Collins said.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also joined the opposition, focusing on getting her fellow representatives back to work.

"We just need people to get back to Washington, back behind their desks, work with the White House to find common sense solutions that are balanced because this way is horrible for our economy, and horrible for New York," Gillibrand said.

Not everyone is against these budget cuts, as many feel spending has to be drawn in after years of red ink. But Collins, Gillibrand, and Poloncarz all said a new solution needs to be reached, because if these sequester cuts are made permanent, they believe it will do nothing but hurt Western New York.