The director of the Fredericksburg Department of Economic Development and Tourism says sequestration has already impacted the area's economy.
"One prospective manufacturing tenant for the city has put their project on hold because of the uncertainty about sequestration," Karen Hedelt told Patch. She also knows of one existing city business considering expansion that is now waiting. "They want to feel a little more security on the sequestration issue [before proceeding]," she said.
The March 1 sequester deadline means across-the-board cuts are set to occur if a budget agreement is not met by Congress. the cuts would mean for Virginia:
- Tens of thousands of lost jobs;
- 18,000 fewer Virginians will get the skills and training they need to find jobs;
- 2,000 Virginia college students will lose financial aid;
- Early education programs will be eliminated for 1,000 children.
Fredericksburg's proximity to federal programs and contractors, particularly those in and around Marine Corps Base Quantico, make any threat of significant cuts particularly worrisome for economic development officials and business owners.
“The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber is deeply concerned about the impact sequestration will have not only on our valued members, but on the entire economy of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Chamber President Susan Spears said. “We hope that our elected officials in Washington will come to an agreement on balancing our nation’s budget while at the same time preserving all critical elements of the Department of Defense and its industry partners that keep our nation safe.”
A local restaurateur said business has slowed significantly in February, and he blames that on sequestration fears.
"In ways large and small, sequestration is affecting and will affect our city," Hedelt said.
For more on sequestration, see:
Congress to Fredericksburg and Virginia: 'Drop Dead'?
McDonnell: Sequester Could Force Virginia Into Recession
Defense Contractors 'We've Been Sequestered Already'
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