Ranking officials in Howard, Prince George's and Montgomery County are urging Congress to come to a compromise which could avert steep cuts in federal spending–known as the sequester–set to go into effect on March 1.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman told the Baltimore Sun that sequestration could have an economic impact in his county. Businesses in Columbia have already said they plan layoffs if sequestration happens, he told the Sun.
According to data released by Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker's office, the effects of sequestration could wreak economic havoc on Prince George's County.
“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," read a statement attributed Baker in a release issued by the county executives of Montgomery, Howard and Prince George's counties. "One-quarter of the federal workforce in this region are residents of Prince George's County, so many of them are eagerly awaiting a positive conclusion to this situation."
Annually, roughly $14 billion in federal spending goes to Prince George's County, including $3 billion for the salaries and wages of federal workers, which make up 10 percent of the jobs in Prince George's County. Roughly 16 percent of the county's civilian population over the age of 16 work for the federal government.
“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,” read a statement in the press release attributed to Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Montgomery 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. 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.”