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Sequestration could have catastrophic effects on Hinesville, local community

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POSTED: August 31, 2012 3:11 p.m.
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Mayor Jim Thomas

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On Jan. 2, 2013, our city may experience an event that will have negative economic impacts on the community for years to come. Other communities with military installations will experience the same or similar negative impacts because of sequestration. Sequestration is a term that generally means seizure. In this case, though, it means additional budget cuts in the federal budget for the next 10 years. According to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who recently participated in a news conference at MidCoast Regional Airport near Fort Stewart, our city and surrounding areas could see the immediate loss of approximately 7,000 jobs. The impact to our country could be the loss of 2.1 million jobs.

The question is why. Why would Congress put the entire country at great economic risk at a time when our nation is just beginning to pull itself out of the greatest recession since The Great Depression? The answer seems to be that both political parties and the administration want to control federal spending but cannot agree on how to do it. Both parties appointed representatives to a "super committee" to develop a plan to cut the proposed budget. If the committee cannot agree on a balanced budget, a law would implement automatic spending cuts. These automatic cuts, if implemented, will cause the loss of jobs in our city and throughout the rest of the country. Our city will be particularly hard-hit with the loss of jobs and contracts on and off Fort Stewart.

Sequestration affects other parts of the economy rather than just the military; it affects Social Security, Medicare and other social programs. These programs affect our city in many areas not necessarily related to the military. We do not know the full extent of these cuts and their effects on our community, but we are trying to determine that.

What does a community do when it may be affected by such a massive loss of jobs in all sectors of the community? We take Sen. Chambliss’ advice and contact our Georgia delegation in Washington and the administration. We demand that they find a solution to this issue. Along with all of our governmental entities in the city and the county, Hinesville has developed a resolution to be approved at our next city council meeting that will be sent to all of the Georgia delegation in Washington. Additionally, we will work with our surrounding communities to develop strategies to get Congress’ attention on this very important issue. When Congress returns from its recess and is in session, we will take a delegation to Washington and talk to our representation in person to emphasize how critical this issue is to our community.

The most important part of our communication to Congress is you, the citizens of our communities. Please make your voices heard in Washington. Let Congress know that this issue impacts you and your families. When our citizens are involved and participating in what their government is doing, the Senate, House and the administration pay attention to what the citizens want. I ask you to call and write your congressmen, senators and the administration to let them know how you feel about this issue. Please let them know that we need action on this issue now, not later. All parties will have to give in on some parts of the budget, and no party will get everything it wants. The economic well-being of our country is more important than the wishes of any party or administration.

 

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