WASHINGTON — Gov. Mary Fallin said Saturday that uncertainty surrounding federal spending cuts is already hurting states, but she and some of her Democratic colleagues differed on how Congress and the administration should replace the cuts to avert widespread furloughs and other drastic measures.
“I've already had several companies in Oklahoma tell me that they're not going to expand because there's so much uncertainty, especially around our military installations,” Fallin, vice chairman of the National Governors Association, said during a news conference opening the group's winter meeting.
“In Oklahoma, it's projected that we could lose up to 8,000 military jobs in our state and have a multiplier effect of 20,000 jobs in Oklahoma's economy because of the uncertainty of the debate in Washington, D.C. We're talking about real lives, we're talking about families, we're talking about pocketbooks, we're talking about businesses making investment decisions.
“And it is not good to have the sequester talk every couple of months, and have a crisis every couple of months by not making decisions.”
Governors gathered in Washington less than a week before $85 billion in cuts known as the sequester are set to be triggered. And President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders appear no closer to compromise as the March 1 deadline approaches.
Obama wants to replace the cuts with a package of more targeted cuts and tax hikes from reforming the corporate and individual tax code, while Republicans oppose raising more revenue.
The governors are scheduled to have dinner Sunday night at the White House, then meet with the president and Vice President Joe Biden on policy matters Monday, the last day of the conference.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Gov. Mary Fallin met with Obama, Biden and other top administration officials in December to talk about budget issues.