Regional leaders speak out on sequestration

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Politics > Spending cuts to go in effect Friday

By The Staff

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities announced this morning the endorsement and unanimous support of State Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard’s House Memorial 71 that recognizes the critical importance of New Mexico’s National Laboratories and DOE facilities to the state’s economic welfare and the negative effects that sequestration will have on New Mexico’s economy.
 Los Alamos National Laboratory alone has close to a $3 billion impact on the state’s economy each year and supports more than 24,000 jobs in Northern New Mexico.
“Sequestration would have a devastating effect on our local communities,” said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, chair of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. “We fully understand the tremendous impact that LANL has on the economy of Northern New Mexico and the continued instability in our federal budget has a ripple effect that is felt from Taos to Espanola to Santa Fe.”
The Regional Coalition recognizes that Northern New Mexico is highly dependent on federal spending in the area of nuclear technology and sequestration may cause tens of thousands of New Mexicans to lose their jobs through direct and indirect job losses at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Garcia Richard said Wednesday morning that there is a statewide bipartisan effort to recognize the significance of LANL and other DOE facilities and “encourage our continued joint effort to support them and their missions.
“I am happy to be working with the Coalition of LANL Communities and other sate representatives on this memorial and other ways to support LANL.”
The Regional Coalition along with the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council and the LANL Subcontractors Consortium, have recently sent letters to New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation urging them to continue to work to avoid sequestration-funding cuts.
The Regional Coalition recognizes that the New Mexico Congressional Delegation has been working hard to address these budget stabilization issues and wants to encourage them to continue to work in the best interest of our region. 
“The continued federal budget uncertainty and the impending sequestration have caused decreased spending at LANL and other federal facilities across New Mexico,” said Liddie Martinez, director of the community and Economic Development Division of SOC Los Alamos and president of the LANL Subcontractors Consortium. “As a result, our members have already been forced to let go of over 800 employees during this period.”
“The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce is extremely concerned about the potential for funding cutbacks and the severe economic impacts it will have on New Mexico,” said Bryan “Chip” Chippeaux, chairman of Century Bank and chair-elect of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. “The combined impacts have a significant impact on New Mexico both in terms of local jobs and tax revenues.”
“The New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council has had a decades-long relationship with LANL that has provided long-term family supporting careers for thousands of construction workers in Northern New Mexico,” said Ray M. Baca, executive director of the union council. “The impact of sequestration will have a huge impact on the 750 construction and maintenance workers currently employed at the lab.”