On December 6, business professionals and community leaders attended the Chamber’s Norfolk Biz Matters: Sequestration presentation at the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce office
This event included a brief overview of the state of the national economy by Professor of Economics at Old Dominion University, Gary Wagner, before focusing on sequestration and the future of Hampton Roads.
Professor Wagner discussed the implications of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on the Hampton Roads economy. The $109.4 billion in cuts are supposed to be split equally between defense and non-defense. He stated that while we will gain 2,000 jobs this year —most in the healthcare field— sequestration, should it take full effect, will cost the area 3,000 jobs. Furthermore, sequestration has been estimated to have an impact of $368.3 million on the region as of October 30, 2013. This includes total Department of Defense-related and non-DOD spending.
“It could have been much worse,” Professor Wagner said. “The darkest days are behind us.” He predicted, that if the government continues down the current path, there are three different scenarios that can take place. “The GDP will approach baseline as if sequestration hadn’t occurred; or, as an alternative, the Budget Control Act of 2011, including baseline changes to fiscal year 2013-2021, will take effect; or full sequestration will take place.”
In regards to what can be done to help the economy, Professor Wagner suggested, “There is no magic lever, but we can improve in areas such as education, research, and development. Focusing on these areas is a long term solution and a step in the right direction.” He also recommended that the implementation of quality infrastructure, tax, and regulatory policies should begin to improve the Hampton Roads economy over time.
A question and answer session concluded the event.