Ever since Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., spoke of the federal fiscal cliff known as sequestration during an Aug. 20 visit to Fort Stewart, local leaders have urged each other to stand against it.
Those efforts slowly have come to fruition, but a Tuesday event will provide leaders the chance to sign a community covenant in opposition of the sequestration and its perceived negative economic impacts.
The Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter will host a proclamation signing at 3 p.m. Tuesday in conjunction with the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.
It will be held in the commissioners’ board room in the courthouse annex, 100 N. Main St. in Hinesville.
At the signing, groups will join in urging Congress to prevent provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011, or the debt-ceiling agreement, from taking effect.
This “sequestration” would be the formal plan for the defense and entitlement cuts of $1.2 trillion that will take effect Jan. 2, 2013, if a deficit-cutting package by Congress is not developed.
The cut would take the armed forces to numbers that have not been seen since 1940.
Sequestration generally means a halt or seizure, but in this case, it would be additional budget cuts in the federal budget for the next 10 years.
“This would be catastrophic for our community,” said Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, who also serves as the current chairman of the Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter.
Thomas has helped spread the word in meetings for the MidCoast Regional Airport local joint management board and the four-county Fort Stewart Growth Management Partnership.
The Hinesville City Council on Thursday approved a resolution urging Congress to take action, and the Liberty County Board of Commissioners did the same Tuesday.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the (signing group) calls on leaders in Congress to return immediately to the negotiating table in order to reach a comprehensive, balanced deficit reduction agreement,” the resolution reads.
While much talk focused on the effects sequestration would have has been on military spending and civil contractors who work on installations, the cuts would affect other sectors of the economy, such as education.
In the Aug. 28 Liberty County Board of Education work session, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Jason Rogers said congressional action or inaction will affect local budgets.
“What I’m working on currently now is, I’m working in conjunction with Camden County, … creating an invoice to send to our congressmen to let them know the effects of sequestration on local districts,” Rogers said.
The intention is to demonstrate “in hard dollars” the effects to local school boards.
If sequestration hits, the LCSS could experience an immediate cut of up to $800,000 in impact aid, Rogers said.