The Economy

Nov 22, 2011 7:58 PM by Andy Koen

Local jobs at stake in budget stalemate

Thousands of local jobs are in jeopardy after the Congressional "Supercommittee" failed to agree on spending cuts. The stalemate triggered $1 trillion in automatic cuts to Medicare and defense spending.

Economist Fred Crowley of Southern Colorado Economic Forum says any cuts in defense spending will have a direct, negative impact on the Colorado Springs economy. The area receives over $6 billion of defense spending each year. Crowley also points out Census data which show the number of military and non-appropriated civilians working at local bases doubling from around 30,000 - 35,000 in 2000 to roughly 62,000 in 2009.

"We will see some gradual cutting of troops, is what I would suspect, between 2013 when it has to start and 2021 when it's supposed to be fully under way," Crowley said.

What's worse, he says those military jobs can affect other local industries as well. Crowley estimates that for every 1,000 military members in the community, around 800 private sector jobs are created.

"Don't forget the military buy homes, rent apartments, buy cars, tvs shirts," Crowley said. "This is a major driver for the economy."

Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, who represents El Paso and Teller Counties, serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Veterans Affairs Committee. He promises to fight the cuts.

"I'm going to do everything I can and members of the Armed Services Committee also are going to do everything they can to prevent this from happening, and if we have a new occupant in the White House, we can prevent it from happening also," Lamborn said.

Lamborn also says defense spending under the Obama administration has already been slashed by $1.5 trillion.

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet says voters need to hold politicians, himself included, accountable.

"There's no mayor in this state whether they're a tea party mayor, a republican mayor or a democratic mayor, who we would ever allow to jeopardize the credit rating of their community," Bennet said. "We'd never allow them to jeopardize the credit rating of their community for politics."

Crowley says the only silver lining to be found in these cuts is when they are expected to hit.

"So, 2012 is going to be okay. We still have time to grow the private sector and the implements of change will take gradually over the next 8 years."

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