DOVER, Del.- Delaware's governor says he does not know if the federal government will reach a deal to stop massive, across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on March 1.
The country's governors were in Washington on Friday for a meeting of the National Governors Association. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell is currently the group's chairman. Democratic governors sat down with President Barack Obama on Friday morning, with the sequester one of the major topics of discussion. Markell said many governors seemed somewhat frustrated these cuts could happen just as their states' economies are really gaining steam.
Markell said the president seems committed to working toward a deal, whether short-term or long-term. Whatever the length, the time to reach one is quickly fading. And watching as Congress attempts to find a compromise is a difficult waiting game for Delaware businesses.
"When you're in the business world, there are certain things you can count on," said Vic Shimp, chairman of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce. "And there are the unknown things. I think that's the main issue with the sequestration is the uncertainty - the not knowing what's ahead of us."
Shimp said he has spoken with many local business owners who feel the same.
The cuts could have a big impact on workers in the First State. The Aerospace Industries Association said cuts could cost Delaware more than 2,200 jobs.
And Shimp said it is important to keep an eye on the potential impact on the Dover Air Force Base.
"Dover Air Force Base plays a huge role in the local economy and the economy for the state of Delaware. We don't know what the impact is going to be there."
The base does not know either. A release from base officials said the Department of Defense expects that nationwide, 80 percent of the civilian workforce would face furloughs. How many furloughs at the DAFB is unclear.
The release goes on to say:"We are still hopeful that Congress will pass a balanced deficit-reduction plan that President Obama can sign, and sequestration is truly averted... not just delayed."
"You can look at our country like a business," Shimp said. "Would you run a business without a budget? Would you run a business without addressing concerns on both sides of the ledger - the spending and the expense."
Markell said it is important the federal government recognizes, as it works on a deal, that it cannot solve its problems by simply transferring the burden to the states. Markell will meet with Obama again in a few days - this time along with all the governors - from both parties.
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