Middle Georgia could face an almost immediate $83 million hit to its economy if automatic Pentagon budget cuts take effect March 1, according to a new estimate from the non-profit 21st Century Partnership, which advocates for Robins Air Force Base.
Despite Washington making a deal on taxes, military bases and their host communities could still be devastated by automatic federal spending cuts, said Robert McMahon, the recently-retired top general at Robins Air Force Base.
Georgia's Republicans in the U.S. House voted against a last-minute deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" after the state's two senators voted for it. All eight of Georgia's Republicans voted against the bill in the House late Tuesday.
House Republicans failed to advance fiscal cliff negotiations this week, seemingly putting responsibility for any budget and tax deal back on President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate. But Georgia's Republican senators say they are still optimistic that the power players will avert steep spending cuts and across-the-board tax hikes that go into effect if no deal is reached by the new year.
While the White House and Congressional Republicans continue to work on a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," union organizers are turning up the pressure on Georgia Republicans to ease up on demands for spending cuts. Specifically, workers led by the AFLCIO planned a protest Friday against Medicare and Medicaid cuts in front of Savannah Republican Jack Kingston's office in Savannah.
The former top commander at Robins Air Force Base says threat of automatic spending cuts due to take effect January 2nd is already slowing business between base officials and defense contractors that together account for the bulk of local employment.
Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss has joined several Republicans who have recently said they will consider new revenue as part of a deal to cut federal spending and pay down debt. The lawmakers are backing away from a no-new-taxes pledge they signed from Grover Norquist’s powerful anti-tax group.