U.S. Rep. Ron Barber will join several local leaders tomorrow in highlighting the devastating impact that automatic, across-the-board budget cuts will have on Southern Arizona and the local economy.
"One week from tomorrow, sweeping budget cuts will go into effect -- cuts that could cost more than 49,000 jobs in Arizona," Barber said. "These cuts will weaken our military, undermine our economic recovery and harm Southern Arizona families. We must get to work immediately to craft a bipartisan solution to reduce the debt so these cuts can be avoided."
Joining Barber at tomorrow's press conference to discuss the impact of the cuts to their organizations will be:
Dr. J.C. Mutchler, executive director and vice president of the University of Arizona.
Albert Elias, assistant city manager for the city of Tucson.
Brett Klein, assistant chief of the Tucson Police Department in charge of investigative services.
Greg Dickson, regional operations director for DaVita, a company that delivers dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. The company has nine facilities in the Tucson area.
William Carnegie, president and chief executive officer of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for Tucson Medical Center.
Art Del Cueto, president of Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council.
Matt Sherman, vice president of Local 2924 of the American Federation of Government Employees.
The cuts will be especially harmful to the Department of Defense, to national security and to military installations in Southern Arizona, Barber said.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon notified Congress that it will be furloughing its civilian workforce of 800,000 employees if sequestration goes into effect March 1.
The Pentagon furloughs will affect civilians across the country.
The cuts could force civilians to take up to 22 unpaid days off, one per week, through the end of the fiscal year in September, the Pentagon said. The employees would receive 30 days' notice before being furloughed.
Barber pointed out that sequestration never was supposed to happen. As part of the 2011 agreement to raise the debt ceiling, Congress approved a series of mandatory, automatic cuts to federal programs.
Those cuts would go into effect only if a bipartisan "supercommittee" charged with coming up with a package to cut the deficit failed to reach an agreement.
No agreement was reached. So $1.2 trillion in cuts -- half from the military, half from domestic programs -- are scheduled to go into effect one week from tomorrow.