If sequestration goes into effect in March, it could cost the state of Virginia approximately 200,000 jobs. With Congress currently at a standstill, their inability to make a decision is affecting the economy nationwide and right here at home in the Springfield area.
Local business owners are already feeling the strain and employees are concerned. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the subject of sequestration, business owners and the people they employ have to sit and wait for answers.
"Nothing's happening and no one's doing anything and it creates all of this uncertainty which in turn creates panic," said Staci Redmon, owner of Strategy and Management Services, Inc. (SAMS), a company based in Springfield that provides a broad range of strategy, management and information technology-related services to federal government agencies and commercial clients.
"All of our employees are obviously extremely nervous, and we have certainly seen the concern on their faces and have heard the concern from many of them," she said.
Redmon said many of her employees' salaries are the main source of income for their families, so the unanswered questions about sequestration are very concerning.
Tony Coombs, owner of TC Associates — a company in Springfield that works with its clients to establish a professional improvement plan — is currently dealing with the same issue. Coombs, like Redmon, has discussed the issues surrounding sequestration with his employees.
"The company will definitely be negatively impacted by sequestration. We've been dealing with this since January, and I've given them [employees] options really early on to let them know that I don't believe I'm the only one in the country who will be affected by this," Coombs said.
"Each one of them understood their options up front," he said. "So the pay will be decreased in some capacity or how many hours we give will be decreased and bonuses and increases in salaries will be affected as well."
SAMS is a verified service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) and a woman owned small business (WOSB), and TC Associates is a minority service disabled veteran owned business (MSDVOB). What Redmon and Coombs do know about sequestration is that even with Congress unable to make any decisions, the uncertainty of what's to come has stalled some of their current contracts, Redmon and Coombs said.
SAMS and TC Associates are both moving forward with contracts on which they can make progress, but can do nothing but wait for Congress' decision before making plans or moving forward with many of their other proposals. In doing so, they're losing revenue while Congress is undecided, Redmon said.
"I think it's very sad. We're an emerging small business with almost five years in business. Projected revenue this year was supposed to be $25 million and we'll probably be lucky if we see $10 million," Redmon said.
Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said Congress' inability to come to a decision is "ridiculous and absurd." His advice to local small business owners is to hang in there and keep in mind that Fairfax County is one of the strongest counties in the country.
Coombs said he needs answers from Congress about what's going to happen with the economy and where the money is going and how it will affect him, his business and his employees.
"Do something," Redmon said. "Doing nothing is completely unacceptable. We need to get a budget and we need to stick to it. This is not helping our economy because the lack of decisions has caused everyone to stand still."