Budget deal a boon for San Diego
The Congressional budget deal passed Thursday in the House, and now headed to the Senate for approval, is significant because it can prevent a government shutdown, but it's a small deal in the sense that Congress remains unwilling to tackle the big issues.
Still, the deal is good for San Diego, in spire of defense cuts – $50 billion, every year for 10 years, a drain on any military town.
Larry Blumberg heads up the San Diego Military Advisory Committee. He says the prospect of sequestration going away, even for two years, has military brass in San Diego cheering.
“We had an SDMAC board meeting this morning where senior military officers, you know, they're looking for that stability so that they can plan, they know which direction they got, they know how much funding they're gonna get.”
Although military readiness was maintained thru sequestration by the Pentagon shifting funds, defense contractors – and there are many in San Diego – suffered.
“There were probably a lot,” says Blumberg, “pretty significant amount of contractor layoffs that happened.”
That, and government employee furloughs robbing our economy of millions of dollars, diminished our growth by half a percent, according the Erik Bruvold of the Institute for Policy Research.
“Probably about 10 to 15,000 fewer jobs in terms of the overall region that we would have seen grown here in San Diego, which didn't.”
Many of those jobs will likely return because the military and defense contractors will have funding stability at least for two years.
“It helps address our readiness,” says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, “especially in 2014 with putting more money back in training in particular, and procurement.”
“There's every expectation there will be less draconian cuts to defense contractors,” says Bruvold, “and given the importance of defense contracting in this community that's a really positive, positive thing.”
A budget deal means we get back to doing business as usual, even if it's only for two years.
Bruvold: “You're kicking the sequester down stream and hoping that the deficit comes down but we're happy to get a two year deal.”
The downside: sequestration could return in three years, unemployment benefits were not extended, and the bill contains nothing to address long term debt.