Sequestration and Fear of the Unknown in Fairfax County
The Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce held a roundtable Thursday about what the across-the-board cuts will mean to the Northern Virginia economy.
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."
"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."
Gordon said that the silver lining is the county's ability to attract top companies like SAIC, Volkswagon North America and Hilton Worldwide.
Top 10 State Employment Impacts of Sequestration
|State||Defense-Related Job Losses||Non DoD Job Losses||Total Job Losses|
"We do not know all the industries of the future, unjust 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, Past President, Fairfax Chapter of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, 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!
Correction: Rick Genuario represents the Northern Virginia Building Industry Assoc. (NVBIA) as its Fairfax Chapter Past President. The program brochure erroneously affiliated him with the National Federation of Independent Builders, an organization that does not exist. We regret the error.