June 11, 2012
Mayor Greg Stanton will travel to Orlando, Fla. this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors as the chair of the group’s Defense Transition Task Force.
Stanton is working to protect thousands of high-wage jobs in Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry, the fifth largest in the nation, and defense jobs nationwide facing the threat of federal “sequester” cuts.
“Arizona's economy and our nation's security face a serious threat from Congress’s failure to deal with looming, indiscriminate cuts to defense programs,” Stanton said. “But bearing the biggest brunt of these cuts will be our defense companies and the Arizonans they employ. We have to be strategic and prevent economic harm to our communities.”
Sequestration, the across-the-board cuts forced by Congress’s Budget Control Act, isn’t due to take effect until January, but many believe thousands of jobs will be shed this fall.
The Act raised the federal government’s borrowing limit as long as $2.1 trillion would be cut from the nation’s debt. The first half would come from spending caps imposed on discretionary spending over the next decade, including an estimated $487 billion from the Pentagon over the 10-year period. But if Congress fails to raise the remaining $1.2 trillion, automatic spending cuts would start in January 2013, including an additional $500 billion cut automatically from defense.
In Arizona, 33,208 private-sector jobs are at risk, according to a George Mason University study.
“This is a huge hit to a core industry in Arizona that employs thousands,” Stanton said. “We can’t afford to take that kind of a hit. We know these cuts will happen, but we need to be strategic, propose a way forward to protect jobs for our long-term economic development, not only for Arizona, but for the rest of the country.”
Stanton will work with a bipartisan group of mayors from across the country at the U.S. Conference of Mayors to propose a plan of action to protect jobs, lobby Congress and keep their cities’ economies moving forward.
Sarah Muench 602-262-7111