Budget cuts may inflict local pain - Tucson News Now

Budget cuts may inflict local pain

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Since a deal to avoid automatic budget cuts seems out of the question, local leaders are scrambling to predict where the cuts will hit and how to deal with them.

With $85 billion chopped out of the budget over the next few months, there's not much doubt there will be an impact.

Where and when remain elusive.

But because the cuts are indiscriminate, it's likely no pet projects will be protected.

For the city of Tucson, it's thought the first ripples will be felt in Section 8 housing.

"We expect that between 250 and 400 families will lose their Section 8 housing assistance," says Tucson's mayor Jonathan Rothschild. "Potentially adding to the numbers of already homeless in our community."

He's also concerned that it could impact Tucson's slow but steady economic recovery.

"One of the effects of governing by crisis, is that people can't plan for the future," he told a group of reporters at a city hall press conference. "When businesses can't plan, they don't invest."

For Pima County, the cuts could hit fairly hard.

The county receives federal grants for health care, transportation, jobs training and law enforcement, among others.

Just where the cuts will fall, the county doesn't know yet.

The cuts will be phased in over the next 60 to 90 days meaning they won't be felt immediately.

But the cuts are not just government, they will also affect the private sector.

"Government spending ends up in the private sectors hands every time," says District V Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias.

"Even though they're grants that affect low income people dramatically, education dramatically and public safety dramatically, those dollars are going to affect private business tremendously," he says.

Both Elias and Rothschild believe the federal budget cuts will have an impact on jobs creation which is essential to maintaining the recovery.

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