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Economist: Proposed Trump budget could cost northern Virginia up to 10,000 jobs

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If President Donald Trump's proposed federal budget is adopted, the suburbs of the Washington Metropolitan area could lose as many as 20,000 jobs in the region’s federal sector – including up to 10,000 in northern Virginia -- according to Terry Clower, George Mason University’s director of the Center for Regional Analysis.

Trump’s proposed budget, unveiled last week, looks to substantially beef up defense, while making major cuts to dozens of other departments, including roughly 13 percent to the Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), more than 31 percent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as a 16 percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“[The proposed budget] sets a bit of a precedent for dramatic shifts in our spending priorities that we haven’t seen since the Reagan era,” Clower told the Times-Mirror.

Clower and other local officials have cautioned that before people start to worry too much about the budget, Congress is likely to substantially alter or scrap it altogether.

At the local level, Clower thinks the region could benefit from increased military spending, but notes that, in many cases, that money ends up going to defense projects outside of northern Virginia.

Clower pointed out other sectors like personalized medicine, which is driven by northern Virginia’s proximity to John’s Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health, would also get cut under Trump’s proposed budget.

At the local level, Clower thinks the impact could vary depending on the jurisdiction. He notes that if people start to move out of the area, it could have a hit on housing and thus local tax revenues.

Lower government spending, Clower says, also translates to lower economic activity and employment and less demand for office space.

“It hits us from several different areas,” he said.

According to Loudoun County government, the county receives nearly $15 million in federal funds toward its $2.5 billion budget.

Loudoun County’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Community Development Block Grant programs account for approximately $9 million of that.

Under Trump’s budget proposal, these two programs would be impacted significantly.

County administration did not want to weigh in on the federal budget or its potential impacts to the county.

Leaders in neighboring jurisdictions, including Fairfax and Alexandria, have expressed fear that the Trump budget could affect low-income residents.

Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg (D) told the Washington Post her city would lose two grants from HUD totaling $1.2 million in the coming year if the Trump budget passes.

“These two programs provide affordable housing for renters and homeowners, and energy assistance that literally helps people pay for heat in the winter and cooling in the summer,” Silberberg told the Post. “These programs are not abstract. They’re real. People’s lives are on the line.”

Last week, Loudoun supervisors agreed to retain $4.9 million in excess unallocated funds from Loudoun County Public Schools’ self insurance fund to put in the county’s general fund as a precautionary measure.

Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), who requested to save the extra funds, said his decision was prompted by the “uncertainty” around the federal budget that could impact the county’s finances down the road.

The Dulles supervisor said the county’s budget staff continues to look at the federal budget closely.

“I think at this point we just don’t know what direction it’s going to go in,” Letourneau told the Times-Mirror. “We don’t know exactly what Congress is going to want to do, and how they’re going to do it, and what types of cuts they’re going to want to make, and which types of cuts they’re going to want to increase.”

Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) echoed Letourneau's comments.

“I am confident that senators and congresspeople from both houses and both parties will not let [the budget] stand, and there will be a lot of adjustments to this budget before it comes to fruition,” Randall said.

With roughly 15 percent of Metro’s funding coming from federal funds, another area of regional concern is cuts to the Department of Transportation.

Last week, Virginia’s representative on the Metro (WMATA) board, Second Vice Chairman Jim Corcoran, said Trump's proposed budget, paired with the lack of consistent and reliable funding from the feds and commonwealth of Virginia for
Metro could make the transit system’s budget woes much worse.

The transit system is currently facing a $300 million fiscal 2018 operating shortfall, and Corcoran said the gap could double to as much as $600 million by 2019.

“With Metro and the crisis that it is in, we do not need the federal government backing off its commitment to the number one way in which most federal workers get to work and get home from those jobs,” Tony Howard, president and CEO of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, said.


David- there is an article in this very “paper” that more housing was approved at One Loudon. 200 units I believe.

Loudon resident is correct- this is just a moving around of money. There are not real cuts. If there were REAL cuts we would see unemployment increase (which it has not) and foreclosures everywhere.

notapajamaboy, lol, that’s great!! Democrats are pajama boys, hilarious!!
oncerural4, I think not a PJ boy was referring to that Mining and the military are both honorable professions. I don’t want my kid to work in a mine but if he chooses to do that or work in the energy industry I’m all for it and if he makes a good living do it, that’s even better. This country was built on the backs of miners and no one should knock it. I’m sure every day of your life is made easier by what a coal miner has done. Don’t knock the profession. It’s noble and honest work. In most professions there are risk. My cousin died years ago by getting electrocuted working as a lineman for a power company. Holding your mobile phone can cause cancer. There are risk everywhere

If there will be fewer jobs, then we need FEWER houses.  No need to approve any more housing.  Ever.

Not a PJboy-you should go work in a mine for one day.Black lung is such an honorable thing? I know miners and they all wish for their children to go elsewhere. No one likes govt spending-on either side.I would think one could take the time to analyze each agency and identify cuts instead of randomly cutting w/o knowing what parts are good and what is bad. Stopping a $20 ballpoint pen and the goodol’boy friends winning contracts is what needs to stop.

If we get out of the incompetent clutches to Trump and his Breitbart crew with the loss of nothing more than 10,000 jobs I think we’ll have to call that a win.  Things are going to get much worse before this clown and his circus pull up stakes.

Rude Loudoun, I would be proud if my child decided to have a career in the military or in the mining industry. Both are noble jobs and spending time in the military is a sacrifice and serving this country as a soldier is extremely commendable. I don’t get your post.

The Stephan Fuller man who brought us metro endorses these numbers.

Everett is right, Northern Virginians will lose their jobs because many of you are federal government workers. That’s what happens when you shrink the federal government. Can’t expect many of you who live on the outskirts of DC to realize what it’s like in other parts of the country.

No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, you’ve gotta find this to be ridiculous:

“The government could cut all they want, my life will continue as is”

That’s a pretty broad statement there Everett!

Did the economist use Jonathan Gruber’s data to come to this conclusion?

Funny how whenever it isn’t fake news, it seems life under Trump is worse than before he took office.

For almost 20 years the federal government has been acting like a teenager with a credit card.  Spending recklessly with no regard for the consequences.  That has to stop and sacrifices must be made…eventually.

But don’t worry all you federal parasites out there.  This is business as usual and there are little to no REAL cuts here.  All they’re doing is moving money around.  Jobs will disappear at some agencies and multiply in others, roughly balancing out in the end.

Northern Virginia’s problem is the state of Virginia not the federal government. The addiction to income and sales taxes which are deliberately NOT SHARED fairly with Northern Virginia as well as the state’s impact on forcing/facilitating higher density residential development in Northern Virginia has been very destructive to the economy of Loudoun, Fairfax and other counties in the north. Anyone remember the SCC pushing power lines on the W&OD; trail, remember the composite index which extracts well over 1/2 billion from just Loudoun and Fairfax etc, etc, etc. When Loudoun gets a cold southern Virginia gets pneumonia. Its time for the state to treat northern Virginia fairly and maybe more companies would move in so we don’t depend on bureaucrat funding so heavily!
Bob O__ Esq.

It’s to be expected. When Donald went on about creating jobs he didn’t mean jobs you’d actually want. Donald was talking about real man’s work- coal mining. Who doesn’t want their child to grow up to work in the mines?

He’s going to make the real America greater again. Government jobs don’t count- except the military. Who doesn’t want their child to grow up to be a soldier?

Northern VA would be nothing without government spending. It would be like any other suburb in the midwest or the south. 10,000 jobs is a drop in the bucket considering how many people live/work here. The government spending translates into higher paying jobs (good) and out of control house prices (bad).  A decent SFH is like $600,000 way out of reach for many.

I say cut more spending and hopefully will reduce traffic as these people will have no jobs to go to AND may possibly drive down prices of homes to reasonable levels. Housing is at least 30% higher than it should be in N. VA thanks to all this out of control government spending which govt. contractors benefit as well.

I am happy as my profession has zero ties to the federal govt spending and won’t affect me one bit. The government could cut all they want, my life will continue as is and wish I could say the same about 50% of my neighbors who either work directly for the govt or are contractors.

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