OPINION / Sheriff of Nottingham: *(asterisk) SEQUESTRATION? … PWC on the road to its own fiscal cliff?
by The Sheriff of Nottingham
in Prince William County, Virginia
The White House and Leaders of both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are up in arms about the catastrophic fiscal cliff that looms with the impending sequestration process.
State government and business leaders from around Virginia are rallying workers to fight the sequestration cuts that will trigger huge layoffs and deep budget cuts that impact virtually every business in Virginia.
Small business owners are reigning in spending to forestall the significant economic disaster that awaits. Prince William County will be especially hard hit with its proximity to major defense installations and the contractors and consultants who rely heavily on defense spending.
In short, sequestration is a cataclysmic train wreck about to happen and its impact on Prince William County will be far reaching.
But Michelle Casciato, PWC Budget Director, and County Executive Melissa Peacor didn’t give sequestration a passing glance as they laid out the process that is being proposed to the BOCS for the FY2014 budget.
And make no mistake, the budget impact on Prince William County from sequestration would be severe.
Supervisor Candland, who is rapidly becoming the most knowledgeable member of the BOCS on the budget, asked about the elephant in the room. What happens to the budget if sequestration, or some form of it, cuts spending as drastically as it appears it will without some agreement by the White House and the Congress?
County Executive Melissa Peacor offered three specific responses that have The Sheriff a bit confused:
- The BOCS has a standing policy that PWC will not cover or replace funding for programs that lose federal or state funding.
- The most significant impact sequestration would have is a reduction in jobs in the County.
- “Until sequestration happens, I [Melissa Peacor] can’t even guess what the impacts will be.”
When it comes to devising a complicated risk scoring economic model, with complex risk assumptions and carefully documents formulas for the risk assumptions, for evaluating the relative value of County programs, well, the PWC staff can do all of that without any problem.
But projecting what revenue impacts sequestration will have — well, we’ll just have to see about that when it happens.
When The Sheriff told Mrs. Sheriff about this colloquy, she asked a simple question. “What kind of dope are they smoking on the Board?”
No Mrs. Sheriff, they are not smoking dope (at least The Sheriff hopes not), but they are acting extremely dopey.
Chairman Stewart blurted out that he had heard sequestration would cost Virginia more than 200,000 jobs.
So let’s apply some sophisticated economic modeling to the number of jobs that will be lost in Prince William County — both direct job losses and the ripple effect that will have on small businesses in the County.
Let’s just stick our heads in the sand and not really analyze the revenue reductions that will result from sequestration.
Or, let’s wait until the disaster hits, and then just see about making a guess about what the impacts will be.
The truth is Ms. Peacor does not have any experience with modeling out budget cuts. With her, it is about growing government and increasing taxes.
Become a Sheriff of Nottingham Deputy or Birdie. Just send the information you have to firstname.lastname@example.org and the Sheriff will check it out.
Your anonymity is guaranteed. We must weed out the corruption and fraud that rules the land and punishes the common people. We must hold the Board of County Supervisors and the School Board to account.
Birdies and Deputies need not fear. The Sheriff will defend your identities at all costs.
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