Mayors Release Bi-Partisan Letter, Explain Local Impact
Philadelphia, September 20, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, along with USCM Vice-President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and other USCM members, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to express the organization’s strong opposition to sequestration cuts, and release a bi-partisan letter strongly encouraging Congress to work together to find a balanced solution to achieve deficit reduction that facilitates, not undermines, economic growth in the nation’s cities and metropolitan areas.
“As Mayor of the City of Philadelphia and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I am proud to stand with my fellow Mayors for this bi-partisan effort to call on leaders in Washington to balance the federal budget in a responsible way,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are calling on Congress to eliminate the sequestration cuts and take a balanced approached to the federal budget. We understand that this is not an easy issue. It was not easy for us to come together and agree on this letter, but we did it. In that same spirit, we hope that members of Congress can come together to adopt a budget that includes more defense cuts, more non-defense cuts, and more revenues because we cannot afford a budget that hurts vulnerable populations and halts growth in cities – the economic engines of our Nation.”
The Mayors explained the local impact that sequestration cuts would have on their communities and residents, with Mayor Nutter providing specific examples for the City of Philadelphia: cuts to Head Start would result in the loss of 400 Head Start jobs and the loss of 30 jobs for teachers and classroom aides, cuts to the Department of Energy’s budget would hurt research projects that are creating jobs at the former Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, and cuts to public health programs would reduce by 100 the number of homes treated for lead paint removal, reducing services to as many as 300 lead-poisoned children.
The Mayors emphasized that because cities and their suburbs represent nearly 90 percent of the nation’s wage and salary income, 86 percent of the nation’s employment, and are where the majority of people in the United States live, cities and their metro areas – which drive the national economy – will unfairly bear the impact of automatic, across-the-board cuts.
The impending sequestration process, mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) and enacted into law on August 2, 2011, is estimated to reduce the Nation’s GDP by $215 billion, decrease personal workforce earnings by $109.4 billion and cost more than two million jobs in only the first year of implementation. The BCA established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the period of fiscal years (FYs) 2012-2021. The joint committee is charged with achieving deficit reduction with no restrictions on how it accomplishes the net reductions in the deficit. The sequestration process is triggered to cut spending by $1.2 trillion if no deficit reduction plan is achieved by the joint committee.