Sequester Cuts Could Cut Jobs in Mid-Michigan

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

"Forty-one percent, 41 percent of our budget comes from the federal government, so if you take that, you make cuts that are all important programs in our state,"

Gilda Jacobs, Director of the Michigan League for Public Policy

The ten day countdown has begun, before automatic spending cuts known as the "sequester" take effect and mid-Michigan could be especially vulnerable.

In addition, to trimming domestic programs, sequestration will slash tens of billions of dollars from the Pentagon this year. That could mean trouble for several local companies that rely on government contracts.

President Obama urged lawmakers to take a balanced approach Tuesday, by cutting spending and raising revenue. If there's no deal by March 1st, $85 billion in cuts will kick in and $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

"There's definitely a concern and I know a lot of our members and these smaller businesses in Lansing are watching closely what's happening in D.C.," Tim Daman, President and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce said.

Daman says lots of government money flows through our area. Just last year, the chamber helped are businesses secure $50 million in federal contracts, many of them defense.

"Whether it's Spartan Motors and Demmer and what they've done, or Peckham is another company locally that has relied on those contracts, it's very important," Daman said.

If those dollars evaporate, so could economic gains, he says.

An obvious impact is layoffs like the 90 jobs cuts announced Monday at Demmer. The Lansing chamber is worried those reductions could spread.

"It goes down through the supply network," Daman explained.

The across-the-board-spending cuts will also hit other Michigan programs, things like Head Start funding, grants for career and technical education and maternal and child health programs.

"Forty-one percent, 41 percent of our budget comes from the federal government, so if you take that, you make cuts that are all important programs in our state," Gilda Jacobs, Director of the Michigan League for Public Policy said.

The measure was supposed to be so unattractive lawmakers would be force to work together. Now, with the deadline looming, Jacobs says we should demand better.

"Our message to congress should be let's really sit down and really figure this out and not hurt the most vulnerable in the process," she said.

"It's real, I do think it has an impact, a continued impact to businesses in this region and throughout the State of Michigan," Daman said. "That's why we're really advocating and pushing for a very comprehensive debt reduction strategy at the federal level."


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