Though the massive Federal spending cuts known as sequestration are set to start in January, one of Virginia's most prominent counties is already feeling the depressing effects. Fairfax County, in the shadow of the Capital Beltway, is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. Yet they stand poised to take a hard hit when Federal contracts start to dry up.
The county, in such proximity with Washington, is tied to Federal contracting in a big way. Many Federal employees (whose careers are on the line in this dilemma) and their families call Fairfax home. Fairfax County only gets 1% of its general fund money from Federal contracts, but business in the area is tied up inextricably in Federal procurement. When the subcontractors and other smaller industry tied to Federal research and development feel the hit from these huge cuts, they will be in no position to respond to the kind of adversity they will go through.
The actual numbers are staggering. Fairfax accounted for a total of 26 Billion dollars-worth of Federal contract money in 2011 alone; thats more than any other locality in America. Economist Stephen Fuller, of George Mason University, warns that if these massive impending cuts are allowed to go through that Fairfax alone could lose 86,000 jobs.
For just one county in our Commonwealth to suffer on that scale is unthinkable. The backlash on Virginia as a whole would be worse even still. The effects of these cuts are being felt even before they are put into effect. Businesses are holding off on expanding, there is lower consumer confidence, and some businesses are already taking precautionary cuts hoping to avoid having to ostensibly shut their doors.
We need common-sense leadership in our Congress, able to reach out to constituents and reach across the aisle as well to come to some agreement to avert this catastrophic "cliff" that we, along with Fairfax County, are about to fall off. The alternative is by no means acceptable.
VA GOP Caucus