Mayors concerned about sequestration

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The threat of sequestration has some mayors in Hampton Roads on edge.

Several local leaders tell WAVY.com they are urging Congress to make a deal.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright worry about the effect sequestration will have on jobs, the military and the economy.

Sequestration has not gone into effect yet but in Norfolk it is already hitting shipyard workers hard. Last week, more than 1,500 shipyard workers at BAE received notices that their jobs could be cut pending sequestration.
The threat of sequestration has also affected deployments and planned ship repairs.

Workers at other shipyards have not received notices but are already preparing themselves for the possibility of budget cuts. 

"I have CD's, and an IRA in my banks and stuff," shipyard worker DJ. Barnes said. "You have to be prepared for stuff like this."

Deployments on air carriers like USS Truman have changed and ship repairs halted because of the impending sequestration. Mayor Wright say Congressional leaders need to reach an agreement before things get worse.

"I think the citizens are upset and tired. They don't want to hear it. Get it done! Get it done," Wright said. "We're talking real jobs, we're talking about economies, we're talking about consumer confidence."

Mayors like Wright also worry if sequestration happens it could also have a huge impact on local budgets and city revenue.

"If people aren't paying their personal property taxes, or coming out and spending money downtown in our restaurants it's going to have a huge effect on our revenue in the city," Wright said. "So, if we do settle on a budget and we don't meet those revenue forecasts, it's going to put us as a municipality in a hole."

Mayor Sessoms said Congress needed to grow the economy by looking at other revenue sources not by making cuts called for in sequestration.

Wright also believes sequestration will further crumble the confidence voters have in Congress' ability to get things done.

"It's a matter of people of different views not getting together and coming up with a compromise," Wright said. "I think there is going to be a huge backlash in Washington."

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