Under the Dome

Legislators ask congressional delegation to avoid widespread federal budget cuts

Democratic legislators warned that automatic federal budget cuts coming March 1 will damage the state economy, the state budget, children and their families.

The N.C. Budget & Tax Center, part of the N.C. Justice Center, is asking legislators to sign a letter to the state's Congressional delegation urging a "balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes additional new revenues and protects the state budget." The Justice Center is a policy and advocacy organization for poor and working-class people.

The budget cuts will hit military employees, defense contractors, Head Start students, and families who have subsidized child care.

The automatic federal budget cuts were part of a 2011 deal between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans that allowed the country to raise the debt ceiling.

The letter says cuts to defense spending are expected to cost the state $1.5 billion in defense contracts and 11,000 jobs, and non-defense cuts are expected to cost nearly 1 million jobs nationwide and reduce the state's gross domestic product by as much as $2 billion. The budget numbers were taken from a U.S. Senate report from 2011.

The federal cuts add up to $1.2 trillion over nine years that are split between defense and non-defense spending.

Sen. Don Davis of Snow Hill and Rep. Rick Glazier of Fayetteville in a telephone call with reporters said cuts would be devastating and felt in military communities and throughout the state.

"The ripple effect is gong to be severe," Glazier said.

The letter has about 20 signatures so far. No Republicans have signed.

The state needs to send "a clear and loud message that we need Congress and the North Carolina delegation to work extra hard to move forward with a balanced approach," Davis said.

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