Fiscal Cliff Could Cripple American Cities

The nation's mayors are warning that looming budget cuts and tax hikes mandated by the federal sequestration process represent “perhaps the biggest threat to our metro economies.” More than 100,000 families may be forced out of their homes.
November 19, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Andrew Magill

Alex Rogers delivers the pleas of the nation's mayors, who met last week with Vice President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders to explain the disastrous short and long term impacts that looming federal budget cuts could have on America's cities if Congress cannot reach a deal to stave them off. Due to the economic impact that cities provide the entire country - they provide 86 percent of the nation's jobs and account for 90 percent of its GDP - those impacts would touch every corner of the United States.

"R.T. Rybak, the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, says Congress doesn’t recognize the local impact of sequestration. In Minneapolis, the process will result in cuts to crucial social programs like domestic-abuse prevention and immunizations for children, Rybak says — which, in turn, will lead to higher costs for police and hospitals."

Most pressing, however, may be the impact of cuts to HUD programs. According to Bruce Katz, the director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, "the most immediate priority will be navigating a looming $325 million cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s public-housing fund. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that more than 140,000 families, including those that are elderly and disabled, would have difficulty maintaining their homes after the sequester."

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Published on Monday, November 19, 2012 in Time
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