In defense-heavy San Diego, ‘fiscal cliff’ threat hits home

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SAN DIEGO — The impasse over the “fiscal cliff” gripping the nation disproportionately threatens San Diego County because the military and defense industry is an economic juggernaut, responsible for 1 in 4 jobs in our area.

Vicky Geron owns a Mexican  restaurant, but she stands to lose business if Congress and the president don’t reach a budget and tax agreement soon. Her restaurant is a few blocks from the gates of the naval base here and the 86-acre Nassco shipbuilding yard depends on the weekday lunch crowd, split evenly between sailors and defense contractors.

Geron said her recession-battered Mexican eatery in this industrial stretch of the Barrio Logan neighborhood could be closed down if the country fails to avoid the “fiscal cliff” — the triggering of automatic defense cuts along with tax hikes — because no deal was reached on the federal budget.

f the fiscal cliff isn’t averted, the county stands to lose as much as $5.9 billion in tax breaks and federal spending, according to an August report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

The ripple effects of those cuts worry business owners such as Geron whose livelihoods are tied to defense.


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