JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- $500 billion in sequestration budget cuts scheduled for
January 2013 could lead to thousands of jobs lost in Florida in the aerospace and defense industries.
A study by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) claims Florida could
lose more than 39,000 jobs if Congress does not stop looming budget cuts.
Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the AIA, said that not only the
workers in these industries would be affected by the cuts, but the
communities they serve as well.
"If in fact we see sequestration,
meaning these major budget cuts go
through at the end of the year, and we are talking about high-paying
good jobs, but we are also talking about folks who depend on these
plant facilities in all the communities. It would be very devastating
if in fact Congress doesn't take action and change the law," Blakey
According to a release from the AIA, the aerospace and defense
industries support more than 167,000 jobs in Florida, which bring in $14
billion in revenue and $5 billion in exports. Kaman Aerostructures in
Jacksonville supports thousands of those jobs, some of which could be in
"Probably better than 60 percent of our work here is
tied to the military program. If the cuts as projected were to go
through, the impact on our work force would be extremely significant,"
said Robert Kanaskie, president of Kaman.
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and Rep. Ander Crenshaw addressed the 400
workers at Kaman Aerostructures today. Their message today was to urge
Congress to find an alternative to the cuts as soon as possible.
"When we look at our economy, 10 percent of Florida's economy is with
the defense contracts industry, so that is why it is so important for
myself for the state and the work force to speak out to the Congress,
particularly the Senate and the President, to let them know that
sequestration is not an option," Carroll said.
Crenshaw encouraged Congress to find the cuts by reforming the tax code.
"There are plenty of ways to find the revenue to not have to go through
this devastating cut. Part of the way you do that is reform the tax
code," Crenshaw said. "You broaden the base, you can actually bring down the rates but you
generate more revenue so there are a lot of things we can do and we
just need to get to work and get it done."
Or many could be out of work, like Robert Gianino, who has worked with Kaman for more than 30 years.
"It will be devastating. Nobody likes to have that hurdle that you got
to get over from figuring out the mortgage to your house, your children
and right up the line. Nobody likes the unemployment line."
First Coast News