Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Social Security Cuts: Greatest Impact On FL Small Towns 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - America's small towns will be hit hardest by any cuts in Social Security, according to a new analysis by the rural news website the Daily Yonder.

Rural areas have a higher percentage of people who receive those benefits, the review says. Economist Mark Partridge at Ohio State University says the loss may appear small on an individual basis, but its reach would be broad.

Daily Yonder
Stats by county and state

"I don't want to necessarily say it would devastate communities, but I think small businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores - all of these are going to feel somewhat of an impact if a lot of their steady customers, the ones who spend their money locally, have less."

In Florida's metropolitan counties, about 19 percent of the population receives Social Security benefits. In rural counties that figure jumps to almost 23 percent, and 29 percent for small towns.

Rural areas have a higher percentage of Social Security recipients because young people tend to gravitate toward cities, says Partridge, adding that more people in rural areas receive disability payments.

"It relates to the kinds of industries people work in. Industries like logging, mining or agriculture tend to be more dangerous, and thus you're more likely to draw things such as disability."

Many rural towns and regions would be affected, Partridge says, especially in central Florida and the Panhandle.

The so-called congressional "super-committee" is expected later this month to make its recommendations for spending cuts, which might include changes to the Social Security program.  

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