While politicians in Washington, D.C., continue a blame game over who is responsible for the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that automatically kick in this Friday, March 1, if action isn’t taken, state and local politicians are sounding off about the cuts and what they could mean to South Tampa and Florida as a whole.
State Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, says the cuts on the federal level could cause Florida to have to freeze spending in some areas.
If the sequester kicks in with across-the-board federal spending cuts, “Florida must immediately look at all our core services and find a way to freeze all other spending until rational minds prevail,” Legg said.
Even so, Legg hopes a last-minute fix will be found.
“It is my hope that Congress and the President will realize balancing our national budget is not just our fiscal responsibly but it is our moral responsibility,” Legg said in a statement to Patch. “We cannot keep spending and passing debt to our children and grandchildren.”
Gov. Rick Scott fears the sequester will compromise Florida’s safety while causing many Floridians to lose their jobs.
“The impacts on Florida’s military installations and defense industries will be severe under the meat hammer of sequestration,” Scott said in a statement. “Our immediate concerns include dramatic reductions to our National Guard, which threatens our ability to respond to wildfires this spring and hurricanes this summer.”
Scott went on to say the job losses could be staggering – especially in regard to military-related jobs in the state.
“Estimated defense industry impacts from industry and academic sources include jobs losses from 40,000 to 80,000, and defense spending reductions approaching $1 billion across Florida,” he said. “The Florida National Guard estimates an annual impact of $27.2 million, which includes 986 Florida National Guard employees furloughed for 20% of the remaining year ($7.3 million in lost wages).”
Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson agrees the cuts will have negative impacts on Florida, its residents and its economy.
“Sequestration – or, across-the-board budget cuts – were never intended to happen,” Nelson said. “And the main reason we don’t have a solution yet is because some in Washington are doing a Kabuki dance. I think the Senate should pass the $110 billion plan we put on the table last week to avert these impending mandatory budget cuts. Then we can use that to work out a compromise with the House.”
Tampa Bay area residents are also sounding off about the possible spending cuts.
Clearwater Patch reader Alden had this to say:
These sequester cuts are really a double negative in operation. They are cutting increases that won't automatically occur. Government has always spent every dime it gets so that each little fiefdom gets a bigger star on its helmet the following year: If we don't spend it all, we won't get an increase next year. Let them sequester; let them govern; let them budget!
New Port Richey Patch reader Guillermo has a different take:
The time has come to the State of Florida to exit from the Union, Florida will be better off without Washington intervention as a Imperial power over the rest of the 50 provinces. Let's sound the trumpets of freedom.
Want to learn more about the sequester? Be sure to read What is the Sequester Anyway? Interested in learning more about what funding cuts are likely in Florida? Check out this story: Funding Cuts are Coming Florida’s Way.
What are your thoughts about the sequester, South Tampa? We want to hear your opinions! Just comment below.
Sequester in Florida: What Do You Think About the $85 Billion in Cuts?
Funding Cuts are Coming Florida’s Way
What is the Sequester Anyway?