“U.S. budget cuts threaten states’ economic recoveries from the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression and will result in the dismissal of teachers and firefighters, as well as the elimination of work-training programs, governors said.
President Barack Obama and Congress need to find a way to prevent $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts from taking effect starting on March 1, said Republican and Democratic governors who were in Washington today for a meeting of the National Governors Association.
The cuts, known as sequestration, will reduce projected spending by $1.2 trillion over the next nine years, with half in defense spending and half from domestic spending. Governors said the possibility of cuts has already caused damage to their economies, and they warned of far more disruption if the president and lawmakers can’t agree.
“The uncertainty of sequestration is really harming our states and our national economy,” Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, said at a news conference kicking off the meeting in Washington. “We’re talking about real lives. We’re talking about families. We’re talking about their pocketbooks.”
The spending reductions may lead to a loss of 20,000 jobs in Oklahoma, where businesses are already hesitant to invest because of the uncertainty over the federal budget, Fallin said.