When sequestration went into effect March 1, the local business community was worried. But so far, the mandatory federal budget cuts have had little impact.
Several Killeen-Fort Hood business leaders said the biggest problem caused by sequestration to date is uncertainty.
Butch Menking, an Edward Jones financial adviser in Killeen, said the sequester should not deter investors. He said healthy corporate earnings and a rebounding U.S. housing market are reasons for optimism.
“We’re disappointed because many people will be hurt by the cuts,” Menking said. “But things will not grind to a halt in this country. The markets tend not to like uncertainty, so investors should be prepared for some possible volatility in the weeks ahead, especially since sequestration was just one fight in the long-term battle over how to reduce the federal deficit. But there are still some very good reasons for people to continue investing for their long-term financial needs.”
Sequestration has not had an impact on the local job market so far, said Wendy Ann Damon, workforce development supervisor at Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. She said both government contractors and full-time government positions could be impacted over the long term. If nothing is resolved in Congress, federal employees could face furloughs in April.
“It is very early, so it is really hard to tell,” she said. “The only effect I have seen so far is people are hesitating to take action just because of the uncertainty. We don’t know what the impact is going to be.”
Alan Badger, director of sales for Marriott Residence Inn in Killeen, said he has not felt any impact from the cuts, but he is worried about less travel by government contractors.
“It’s a big question,” he said. “We haven’t really seen any big changes, but it could affect us a great deal if there are less government contractors traveling.”
Polo Enriquez, executive director of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, said the cuts are on his mind, but he is confident the area can weather the storm.
“I’m optimistic this will be resolved and funding will be restored to an acceptable level for this community,” Enriquez said.