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Aug 1, 2011 11:34 PM by Matt Stafford

Local concerns in debt debate

Decisions being made on Capitol Hill over how to handle the nation's debt have people across the country waiting to see what happens.

"I'm very concerned," says Colorado Springs resident Geraldine Webb, a disability insurance receiver.

"I do live from month to month," Webb says, and to make it she relies on that federal money. She's hopeful payments will continue, but she's getting ready in case they don't.

"I came from the bank and canceled my automatic payments just in case," says Webb.

As lawmakers look where to cut, local economist Fred Crowley, with the U.C.C.S. forum, says we have a lot to lose locally.

"El Paso County gets about $17,500 per person in government expenditures each year; this is among the highest in the whole country," says Crowley.

So what could the proposed cuts look like?

"I would suspect military, social security; certain contracts that are due will probably be honored," says Crowley, but he says there's an opportunity to lose a lot of local funds.

"In El Paso (County) we have about $10.8 billion spent each year; there's only about $6 - $6.5 billion of that in military, which is safe. The other is up for grabs."

People are still waiting to hear where the proposed $2 trillion in cuts over the next decade will come from. Crowley says expect to notice them.

"There will be cuts, we will be feeling it, and this is one of our problems in our local community -- we are too dependant upon the military," Crowley says.

As for Webb, she's going to do what she can.

"I'll just play it by ear, but I am concerned."

The bill passed by the House Monday will have to pass a vote of the Senate and be signed by the President. The Senate is expected to vote at noon Tuesday.

If the government doesn't pass a deal to handle the debt by Tuesday's deadline, the United States will default on its debt obligations for the first time in history.

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