TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott released a statement Feb. 25 on the threat of sequestration, which will trigger forced budget cuts on Friday, March 1, 2013.
“There is no doubt that budget cuts must be made at the national level, just as we have done here in Florida. But, it is the responsibility of our federal leaders to administer spending reductions thoughtfully and rationally – not in an elementary school game of ‘chicken.’ Instead of cutting with a scalpel, the sequestration process is a meat hammer.
“Sequestration means the Obama Administration and Congress failed to do their job to manage the budget. As thousands of Floridians lose their jobs, the Obama Administration and Congress are getting paid for not doing theirs. That’s just wrong.
“The impacts on Florida’s military installations and defense industries will be severe under the meat hammer of sequestration. Our immediate concerns include dramatic reductions to our National Guard, which threatens our ability to respond to wildfires this spring and hurricanes this summer.
“Now is the time for leadership. It is critical for all national leaders to find a way forward that will not have unwarranted, unnecessary impacts on both our economic and our national security.”
Florida is one of America’s most defense centric states. Florida hosts three unified combatant commands, 20 major Air Force and Navy installations, and very large segments of the nation’s defense industry which annually contributes over $73.4 billion and more than 754,000 defense industry jobs to the economy.
Estimated defense industry impacts from industry and academic sources include jobs losses from 40,000 to 80,000, and defense spending reductions approaching $1 billion across Florida. The Florida National Guard estimates an annual impact of $27.2 million, which includes 986 Florida National Guard employees furloughed for 20 percent of the remaining year ($7.3 million in lost wages).