What will sequestration's $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts do to the Northern Virginia economy? Specifics are hard to come by, but it doesn't look good.
Fairfax County executive Ed Long is hoping that the White House will soon put forward a proposal outlining the 10-year implementation of the cuts.
"I think the rest of the world is interested in how we are dealing with this issue," said Long. "We know we are going to take a hit, but tell us what is going to be hit and we'll move forward."
Congress triggerred the sequester after failing to meet the March 1 deadline to compromise on $1.2 trillion in debt reduction, and this year the U.S. military will be forced to cut $46 billion and domestic defense spending will be cut by $85 billion.
Long spoke alongside local economic experts at an Economic Outlook Forum hosted by the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce and the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation at the Belle Haven Country Club on Thursday. He was joined by Jon Wolford, Chair of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors; Rick Genuario, president of the Fairfax Chapter of the Northern Virginia Federation of Independent Builders and Dr. Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.Annual federal procurement in the County: $25 billion Federal civilian employment in the County: 4 percent
*Source: Fairfax County FY 2014 Budget
"The vitality that you fondly think of as you look back on the Washington economy over the last 10 years was largely driven by federal spending," said Dr. Stephen Fuller, director of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis. "Hopefully we'll see a positive result of an economy poised for growth that reflects a long history of investment."
Gordon said that the silver lining is the county's ability to attract top companies like SAIC, Volkswagon North America and Hilton Worldwide.
"Everybody is asking about whether the glass is half full or half empty. I'm just looking for the damn glass," said Gordon. "Housing, automobile sales, dining, large purchases - there are implications for everyone in the economy."
Top 10 State Employment Impacts of SequestrationState Defense-Related Job Losses Non DoD Job Losses Total Job Losses California 123,209 90,255 225,464 Virginia 136,191 71,380 207,571 Texas 98,979 60,494 159,473 Washington, DC 15,169 112,238 127,407 Maryland 39,395 79,400 114,795 Florida 41,905 37,554 79,459
Pennsylvania39,941 38,513 78,454 New York 28,809 41,201 70,010 Massachussets 41,469 19,028 60,497 Georgia 27,609 26,903 54,5512
"We do not know all the industries of the future, just like we did not know 30 years ago that there would be a new industry from the Internet," said Gordon. "We do not know now what all the opportunities will be, but I do believe we have a skill set in the County around which these new businesses will be built."
Rick Genuario, President, Fairfax Chapter Northern Virginia Building Industry Assoc., said that business practices for companies like his took a toll from the recession.
"We had to change our outlook on how we conducted business," said Genuario. "Now the federal government needs to come to compromise that we can all deal with."
What effect do you think sequestration will have on Fairfax County? Tell us in the comments section below!