During an interview with Patch Wednesday, Supervisor Jeff McKay weighed in on the issues surrounding sequestration and how it will affect Lee District. Like many, McKay says Congress' indecision is unacceptable.
"On the fact that they can't make a decision, it's absurd. It's ridiculous, and if we acted that way at a local government level people wouldn't tolerate it and they shouldn't tolerate it," McKay said. It's kind of an embarrassment to the country that people with different minds can't sit down together and come up with an agreement. We do it every day in Fairfax County, and it's not the easiest thing in the world, but it's what people expect."
President Obama dropped by Virginia on Tuesday, railed against Congress for yet another "manufactured crisis" -- this time sequestration 2013 -- and asked for help pressuring lawmakers to solve the budget impasse that will affect the state of Virginia.
"If you agree with me, I need you to make sure your voices are heard," Obama told employees and television cameras at Newport News Shipbuilding. "Let your leaders know what you expect of them. Let them know what you believe."
Because Fairfax County has a huge defense contractor presence, McKay said sequestration can definitely have an affect on the Lee District area. Between 10 and 20 percent of the county's income is related to defense or federal contracting.
"You can't take between 10 and 20 percent of earning income in one jurisdiction out suddenly and expect that there's not going to be an impact," he said. "What worries me the most is the impact of some of the things we don't think about every day like retail sales, sales tax receipts, people going out to eat, people going to movies, people buying new cars. Things of that nature that they're not going to do if they are furloughed or if their contract job is gone. It will have a profound affect."
McKay said he thinks there are some cuts that need to be made at a federal level, but this is the wrong way to go about it. He explained that Fairfax County would never make cuts to the county budget across the board just because they think everyone should share in the pain.
Instead, they would go in and cut where they can afford to cut and protect areas where they know they can't afford to cut.
Despite the impact that he knows Congress' decision will have on the area, McKay said Fairfax County "will weather the storm because we don't have a choice."
"I think in last year's budget there was certainly a carry over, and we have set some money aside to protect the county should this happen next year, which I think is a good approach to take. To try plan for the worst and hope for the best," McKay said. "We as a county, in terms of the county itself and the services we deliver, I think we're in a good position to respond to it, but that being said, it's going to be tough. This is still one of the best economies in the U.S."