~Cites city poverty and economic vulnerability concerns~
Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement today:
After listening to President Obama last night, I am compelled to speak out about the need for Congress to move forward responsibly on issues of great economic impact – addressing the debt crisis and the Federal budget.
“It might be interesting to sit back and watch the partisan wars in Washington, if the stakes were not so high. And, the stakes are high – for the world economy, for the stability of the U.S. markets, and for our state and local governments. Virginia is a state with a AAA bond rating – something that the City of Richmond has been working hard to attain. Just recently, Moody’s warned that it may have to review Virginia’s rating in light of the instability in the U.S. economy. In fact, the U.S. government’s AAA bond rating could be downgraded. All of this troubles me greatly, and it has the same effect on my colleagues at both the state and local levels.
“We know we are in fragile economic times. With our focus on reducing poverty in our city, we are intently aware that a dip in the national economy could swing us downward again in the numbers of those without jobs and needing assistance.
“We cannot afford to have our leaders in Congress play “chicken” with the economic stability of our people. We cannot abide having the sword of Damocles hang over us, making people worry about their financial future. We do not need to have the threat of a harsh recession looming in our short-term future.
“At the same time, we need to make sure that Congress solves their budget problems with acceptable solutions. Middle-class people and senior citizens cannot bear all the burden of higher costs or fewer services.
“Separate from, but related to the budget crisis is the recent problem facing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). With the stalled extension of the budget authorization for the FAA, we are seeing furloughs of 4,000 employees and delays in construction projects. While air traffic control continues, the construction projects that improve our national aviation systems are held up, and the ripple effects will be felt across the country. For Richmond International Airport, this could slow down grants we are slated to receive for a $12.8 million airport parking project. This will also slow the reimbursements for $10 million of airfield electrical project and taxiway work. Congress needs to pass an FAA extension bill now.
“I echo President Obama and Governor Bob McDonnell when I encourage the Virginia delegation to take the lead in finding solutions and I applaud the bi-partisan efforts of Senator Mark Warner. I'm concerned for our city, our state, and our country. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem, this is everyone's problem.”