Scroll below the text to view a video clip of regional leaders, including COG's 2012 Board Chairman Frank Principi, being interviewed regarding the implications of the "deal" for metropolitan Washington.
Leaders of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments said Congressional action to prevent drastic tax increases on many Americans is an important step, even though it does not prevent the across-the-board federal budget cuts that are likely to hit this region especially hard.
The cuts, known as sequestration, apply to defense and nondefense discretionary programs and put as many as 450,000 jobs in metropolitan Washington at risk. In November, the Council of Governments sent a letter to Congress urging officials to stop sequestration and adopt a bi-partisan plan to reduce the deficit.
“We hope yesterday’s limited action means that Congress will continue to work in the days to come to reverse the serious effects of sequestration before they can take full effect,” said Prince William County Supervisor Frank Principi, who serves as the Chairman of COG’s Board of Directors. “The American people need Congress to continue its work to support local economies across the country and especially in metropolitan Washington."
Noting fundamental economic changes are coming, COG’s leaders have also stressed the need for greater regional cooperation and promoted Economy Forward, a plan to strengthen metropolitan Washington’s competitiveness.
“Because we knew reduced federal spending was a real possibility, area leaders decided to be proactive and start preparing our region for significant, long-term changes,” said City of Frederick Alderwoman Karen Young, COG’s incoming Chairwoman. “We developed a plan to help diversify our region’s economy, build on emerging industries, and attract and retain new businesses and workers.”
In 2013, the Council of Governments will implement its Economy Forward plan through projects to identify and fund transportation priorities, invest in mixed-use activity centers, and focus on regional workforce development needs. The Council of Governments and its partners will also analyze how changes in federal spending will affect the governments in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, as they budget for schools, transportation, and other critical services.