SAN DIEGO (CNS) - President Barack Obama's plan to freeze wages of most federal workers for two years will cost the San Diego-area economy nearly $200 million annually, an economist said Wednesday.
Kelly Cunningham of the National University System Institute for Policy Research estimated the direct loss at $108 million -- pay that would going to federal employees if they got raises -- and the overall loss to the regional economy at $190.3 million. The larger figure includes the loss of direct compensation and the effects of reduced spending.
"Our economy was estimated to be $170 billion in 2009, so a total of $190 million is a little over 1 percent of that," Cunningham said. "In a struggling economy, that's another blow."
Cunningham said he calculated the wages of local federal workers, compared to pay increase data since 2007 to arrive at his conclusions.
Despite the cost to the local economy, the $5 billion savings to the federal government is needed to control debt, he said.
The proposed pay freeze does not include postal workers or members of the armed forces, though civilian employees of the Defense Department will be affected.
The federal government employs about 37,000 people in the area, excluding postal employees, he said. On average, Cunningham said, people working for the federal government make about 1.5 percent more than privately employed people in similar jobs.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials are increasing staffing levels in anticipation of increased fire activity.
It was a hopping good time in Balboa Park on Sunday at the 8th annual Bunnyfest. Hundreds joined the San Diego House Rabbit Society for a big playdate that's all for a good cause. The money raised Sunday will go towards helping the rabbit society find loving homes for their adoptable bunnies.
An early morning vegetation and trash fire at a homeless encampment threatened nearby condos and resulted in at least one injury Sunday.
A major construction project at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry will be completed ahead of schedule, officials said Sunday.
After a fall-like and mild weekend, temperatures are expected to heat up around San Diego throughout the week.
The city's search for the next top cop is underway as police chief Shelly Zimmerman prepares to step down in March.
More than 200 surfers paddled out for a daunting day-long challenge Saturday inspired by young men in the community facing a far bigger one.
A semi-truck ran over a fire hydrant Saturday afternoon in Grant Hill causing a huge geyser to spray into the air. Luckily, firefighters were just minutes away at a community event and were able to put a stop to the water quickly.