SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A resolution opposing looming cuts in defense spending was unanimously approved Monday by the San Diego City Council's Economic Development and Strategies Committee.
The resolution will next go before the full council.
"This is not about symbolism. This is about our community coming together, working together, to ensure we protect one of our most precious assets -- our local military," said Councilwoman Sherri Lightner.
The resolution acknowledges the substantial economic impact the military has on the region and concludes with a gently worded call to action.
"We need to stress it's more than symbolic, that here in the community we see the pain, the suffering of the jobless, the underemployed every day in our neighborhoods, and I think that all of us recognize the potential impact this could have on our regional economy," said Councilwoman Marti Emerald.
Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama resolved a dispute over raising the federal debt limit last year by ordering automatic across-the-board spending cuts to begin on Jan. 3, 2013, unless a congressional committee reduces spending or raises revenue by around $1.5 trillion. The committee members are not close to such a deal.
"We do need to make a statement, not just today, but we need to keep pounding that drum all the way through the elections and let our elected officials and candidates know that this is a major issue that impacts everybody," Emerald said.
"It impacts Main Street and we need to make sure that they get the message loud and clear and we keep repeating it so that we can get Congress to work together to resolve these budget issues and help to protect the ongoing economic recovery and communities all across the country," she said.
If the spending reductions, called sequestration, go into effect, nearly $500 billion of the cuts will come from the Pentagon's budget over the next 10 years. At a news conference last Tuesday in Washington, Mayor Jerry Sanders said spending cuts in other areas will also have negative consequences for San Diego.
The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation estimated 31,000 jobs could be lost in the San Diego region as a result of the cuts.
"These cuts would be catastrophic as San Diego and the state are just beginning to rebound economically," Lightner said.
The San Diego Military Advisory Council reported last month that defense spending in San Diego is around $20 billion this year, with $8 billion going directly into salaries. About one in four local jobs rely in some way on military spending, according to the study, which was presented at the committee meeting.
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