News / USA

US Cities Brace for Mandatory Government Spending Cuts

US Cities Brace for Mandatory Government Spending Cutsi
X
March 23, 2013
U.S. lawmakers approved a new spending measure to prevent a government shutdown later this month. It will fund the government through September 30th. But the legislation locks in place 85 billion dollars in across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs. The automatic budget reductions, known as the "sequester," are hitting every federal government agency, with many employees being forced to take days of unpaid leave and government contractors being laid off. VOA's Chris Simkins reports on what the continuing budget cuts might mean to one community near Washington, DC.

US Cities Brace for Mandatory Government Spending Cuts

TEXT SIZE - +
Chris Simkins

U.S. lawmakers approved a new spending measure to prevent a government shutdown later this month. It will fund the government through September 30. But the legislation locks in place $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs. The automatic budget reductions, known as the "sequester," are hitting every federal government agency, with many employees being forced to take days of unpaid leave and government contractors being laid off.

Air traffic controllers at the Frederick, Maryland, municipal airport guide pilots around the busy airspace. But, under the spending cuts known as sequestration, this control tower, like many at smaller airports, is slated to close. Mamie Ambrose has been an air traffic controller for 11 years. She's among seven government contractors who would lose their jobs.
 

" We are armed service medal veterans, and now we are getting thrown out on the street for political gain and games. That's what it means. It also means no income and being in the unemployment line with so many others," Ambrose said.


More than 20 percent of Frederick's residents are directly or indirectly employed by the federal government. Its largest employer is the Army's Fort Detrick, a biomedical research facility with nearly 10,000 workers. Frederick and nearby areas are nervously awaiting the effects of cuts in government spending.
 

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement and a volunteer deliver hot meals to low-income seniors. The mayor worries federal cuts that cause job losses and salary reductions could indirectly harm charity organizations that help needy residents.


"If the people who help volunteer for meals-on-wheels for the elderly are now more concerned about trying to find jobs or supplement the days lost by going out and getting a part time job they won't have the ability to volunteer for services like this," McClement said.


The mayor says nobody has a clear idea of the full impact, but he says job losses and salary reductions will affect some Frederick residents.


"They live in our town, they shop in our town, they do their daily business in our town. Well, if they have one less day of pay per week, then we are going to start seeing a decrease in those services being utilized, That's how we believe the outcome is going to hurt our municipality," McClement said.


Richard Griffin, the city's economic development director, says the good news for this city of 65,000 is its improving economy plus 1.5 million people who visit annually.


"We are a diverse economy, and we also have a very strong visitor and tourism sector of our economy here. Our hope is that the furloughs and any layoffs that we might see from contractors or the federal side itself would be offset a little bit," Griffin said.


Some local businessmen, like jeweler Jeff Hurwitz, say the government spending cuts will not harm long-term consumer spending.


"I don't believe it is going to affect things because people will see how minor it is. And it won't be an issue," Hurwitz said.


Frederick was recently given an award as a comeback city, one of a few places across the country that has been able to bounce back well from the recent recession. The people here say, despite sequestration, this community will again be able to come back strong.

 

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid