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Leggett: ‘Severe Slowdown’ Possible For MoCo If Sequester Hits

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 2/19/2013, 2:25pm  ET

County Executive Isiah Leggett gathered with County Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Mid-County) and his Prince George’s and Howard County counterparts on Tuesday morning in Rockville to urge Congress to avoid the federal sequester that could hit March 1.

The deep, across-the-board budget cuts throughout the federal government could mean employee furloughs, service reductions and fewer federal contracting awards that Leggett said would severely impact Montgomery County’s economy.

Leggett (D) said the county has 47,000 federal workers and thousands of businesses that contract with the federal government, “all of whom will be directly affected if Congress does not act.”

In fiscal 2012, Montgomery County had $5 billion in prime federal contracting awards what with sequestration cuts the county said would be adversely affected.

“The impact on Montgomery County from the sequestration could undo the economic gains we’ve made as the County and our country have begun to emerge from the financial crisis,” Leggett said in a prepared statement. “The loss to our County of millions of dollars in revenue could plunge us back into a severe slowdown causing budget shortfalls and a stagnant economy. We can’t let that happen.”

Montgomery County is facing a roughly $135 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2014.

Also this morning, President Barack Obama urged House Republicans to pass a measure that would delay the cuts for the rest of the year. Republicans have said they won’t pass a deal that includes tax hikes.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said, “Sequestration would feel like a cold to most of the nation, but to Prince George’s County and the rest of the Washington metropolitan area, it would feel like a bad case of pneumonia,” repeating a line used by Sen. Barbara Mikulski in a meeting last week with the Montgomery County Council.

Photo from MyMCMedia via Facebook