The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved the drafting of a letter urging Congress and President Barack Obama to set aside partisan politics and stop automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect next month.
If Congress fails to reach an agreement to reduce the nation's debt, spending reductions called sequestration will take effect Jan. 2 under an agreement reached last year to end the stalemate over raising the federal debt limit.
If the reductions are triggered, $109.3 billion – split evenly between domestic discretionary and defense spending – will be cut each year for a decade.
"The proposed action, which would go into effect in early January, would basically be a meat-cleaver approach to solving the federal deficit," said Supervisor Greg Cox, who represents Coronado and other South Bay communities.
San Diego County, home to the largest concentration of military personnel in the country, benefits from about $20.6 billion in direct federal funding from defense-related spending, according to Cox and board Chairman Ron Roberts.
More than 25,000 civilian employees support the military in San Diego County, Roberts said.
In the county's nearly $5 billion annual budget, about $898 million comes from federal funds. The Health and Human Services Agency, Housing and Community Development and other departments rely heavily on that funding.
Roberts and Cox said the prosperity of San Diego County is being threatened.
"What you see in Washington right now is a very partisan negotiation that's going on, where each side has a gun to their own head saying that if we can't agree, I'm going to fire," Roberts said.
Sequestration would benefit no one, he said.
The cuts would have an unknown, but significant, impact on the regional economy and the governmental services provided by the county, and would not come close to fixing the federal deficit, according to the supervisors.
The board directed county staff to draft a letter to be sent to the president and members of the local congressional delegation urging a balanced approach to addressing federal deficit reduction and action to stop the cuts from taking effect.
– City News Service