Budget cuts will hit Tucson hard

Maybe a job loss, pay cut, longer wait in the security line at the airport or longer wait for police to arrive. But there will be some pain.

Congressman Ron Barber, Democrat from District 2, brought several people today to illustration how widespread the impact will be.

The Tucson Police Department uses federal money for drug interdiction, DUI testing and gang prevention. Much of that will dry up.

"That will have an impact on public safety," says Brett Kline, a spokesperson for TPD.

Civilian employees at Davis Monthan will see 20% pay cuts.

"I don't know about you, but I can't deal with 20% less pay," says Matt Sherman, Vice President of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Tucson Medical Center will lose 2% of its operating budget.

"Health care is big business," says Julie Strange, a vice president at TMC. "But when you need a hospital, it's very personal."

About 500 Tucsonans will lose their homes when the feds cut the housing subsidies and some city positions will disappear.

"We'll handle those through attrition," says Albert Elias of the Tucson city manager's office.

The Border Patrol will see 40% pay cuts.

"Those are agents which live in this community, spend money in our community," says a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department. "It affects the community as a whole.

The community food bank has already seen a 7% increase in people in need.

"That will increase another 10% if these cuts go into effect," says Bill Carnegie, CEO of the foodbank.

Senator John McCain told a group of people in Green Valley this week, "this is a failure to act in the national interest."

Politicians of all stripes are in their districts or states this week pointing out how severe the problem will be unless a solution is found.

"I'm telling you the economy in Arizona is beginning to crawl back up and this could be a very devastating blow to it," he told the audience.

The budget cuts are a leftover issue from the failed budget talks two years ago.

No one expected it to get this far.

"This was a poison pill that was not supposed to be swallowed," says Barber. "But here we are a week away from it."

Half the cuts will come from military spending and the other half from domestic spending.

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