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Fairfax Officials: Sequestration Would Impact Budget By Spring

County relies on $290 million in Federal dollars, including $135 million for schools.

Fairfax County is staring down projected budget deficits in both Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, and officials are waiting anxiously for Congress to make a decision on sequestration cuts that would only make those gaps worse.

In a presentation Tuesday, County Executive Ed Long told Virginia legislators the county was projected to face shortfalls of $169 million in FY2014 and $274 million in 2015.

And there’s no telling what sequestration would do to those numbers.

The county currently relies heavily on about $290 million in Federal dollars, including $135 million for Fairfax County Public Schools, $58 million in Federal grants, $38 million for the General Fund and more.

“We can certainly hope that sequestration does not kick in but there’s a possibility that it will,” Long said. “We can only hope that Congress acts. It’s that unknown part right now, that makes it difficult to try deal with the county budget.”

Should Congress allow the cuts to go through, Fairfax County would feel them sooner than some might think, Long said.

Real estate taxes likely wouldn’t be affected until 2015, Long said, but the impact to sales taxes and transit occupancy taxes could hit as early as the second half of FY2013.

Business license and business personal property taxes probably wouldn’t move until FY 2014.

Long worried about the implications for money from the Commonwealth; cuts in allotments to state budgets would mean fewer dollars to localities.

County departments and agencies have already begun bracing for the future shortfalls. Long said agencies are operating with 8 percent vacancy rates in their budgets, and departments have identified up 5 percent each in reductions for the coming year.

“We have looked under every rock to try to find anything that’s out there without cutting into the core fabric of the community,” Long told state officials.

Beyond those concerns, the county also relies heavily on federal employees and contracting.

According to Long’s presentation, federal contracts accounted for $24 billion of the county’s FY2010 income.

And nearly 10 percent of FY2010 personal income in Fairfax County came from federal employees, for a total of $6.5 billion. In total, 23,361 people, or 4 percent of county workers, are federal employees.

“I think our worst fear is if Congress fails to act,” Long said. “What’s going to happen to the economy? I don’t think any of us think anything good is going to happen.”

See also:

Local Road Funds Unlikely to Come from General Assembly

County Faces $3 Billion Transportation Gap

Chipperson December 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM
What will happen when president Obamas White House destroys the defense industry and takes down Fairfax County in the process?
Joel R December 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM
6.5 billion divided by 23361 employees?
james gilley December 14, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The cuts in the sequester are about $100 billion/year out of a federal budget of $3.6 Trillion or about 3-$% cut per year. If they cannot cut that much then we are going to sink like the Titanic as a nation. And the military needs cutting sharply for we still have more than a division (20k+)s of troops in Okinawa following 1945 where the residents organize a large protest each year which is uncovered by the press in this country. We have two divisions in wealthy and secure South Korea and our excuse is a NK where a hopeless, ruthless country will not long our last the fury of their own people. (And SK has one of those shields that Israel used to ward off missiles from Hamas recently and so does Japan.) Those missiles are like kids shooting fireworks to get attention. Like the Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish and English and the Russians we will soon find out that wasting money trying to modernize Afgan is useless and very, very expensive. So cut the 3-4% and make the overall amount stay firm while holes are filled here and there. Then let the tax cuts expire. After all we cannot grow our way out of the debt we have incurred and only tightening our belts and with careful management will we come out of it and not go into a Free-fall. Wake up America we cannot live lavishly on a credit card forever!
Bob Bruhns December 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This is why there was such a rush to lock us into the double priced Dulles Rail - Silver Line project. Now all we have to do is figure out how to pay for it twice, and also pay the interest on the money we need to borrow in order to do that. Since Virginia and the federal government are now backing away from the phantom financing deals that we were assured would rescue us from the consequences of agreeing to this double-priced rail folly, we'll just have to come up with the multiple Billions ourselves, like our so-called 'leaders' promised we would. There is a reason why we are in such a financial hole - our elected leaders like to give away money to their contributors and buddies. If you want to do more than yawn about this, read about the double prices in the huge local rail project, and read the US DOT Audit report on MWAA, the organization that handed us the double prices. http://www.bruhns.us/civic/DullesRail/Dulles-Rail---Silver-Line-overcost-report---Bruhns.pdf http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/MWAA%20Final%20Report.pdf By the way, there is one more US DOT audit coming - the one that was announced on March 15, 2012, investigating the Dulles Rail Phase II project itself. For some Very Mysterious Reason, this particular audit was never reported in the news, so you never hear about it. Isn't that interesting. http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/Dulles%20Phase%202%20Announcement%20Letter%5E3-19-12.pdf
The Analyst December 14, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I suggest you blame Mr. Boehner and the Republicans. Bush spent money like a drunken sailor, tried to pass the costs of his tax cuts off to the middle class buy reducing health care right offs, and when that didn't work, gave the tax cut anyway. Then of course....there's invading the wrong country. If you want to keep your defense industry propped up, it's going to take money. Where's the money going to come from? Tax cuts for the wealthy?

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