The City of Tucson could see cutbacks in funding for federal housing assistance, police, transportation, the military, public schools and many other things, if an agreement isn’t reached soon in Congress to end sequestration, or $85 billion in forced spending cuts.
“Here in Tucson, we are especially susceptible to the effects of the sequester. We have a major military base that will be affected. We have a major defense contractor that will be affected. We have a major research institution that will be affected. Public schools, already insufficiently funded by the state, will be affected,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
Depending on how long the sequester lasts, the effects on Section 8 housing residents will be felt in 60 days. That means up to 400 families could be forced into homelessness, if they can’t find money to pay the full cost of housing, Rothschild said at a news conference explaining the sequester’s effects on the city.
“Our most vulnerable citizens should not be forced to pay for Congress’ inaction,” he said. “This is a real cut your nose to spite your face action.”
Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva just returned to Tucson from Washington, D.C., where Congress failed to act on a bill to stop the mandatory budget cuts before Friday’s deadline.
“The clock ran out and there is no deal,” Grijalva said, responding to questions about why he came home when no compromise was reached.
Grijalva conceded the federal deficit needs to be addressed, but said automatic tax cuts are not the answer and could make things worse when all of the effects of those cuts are realized.
The automatic cuts were approved in a 2011 deal to raise the federal borrowing limit, if Congress failed to agree on a comprehensive deficit reduction plan, which it did not.
Watch excerpts of Mayor Rothschild’s comments:
Tags: community, homeless, housing, police, university of arizona