Senate President Don Gaetz said the federal sequester is causing problems for Florida lawmakers as they try to build a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. People may argue the financial impact of sequestration and what should be done to avoid it, but it is already having real consequences, he said.
"What's not debatable is that sequestration has created a sense of uncertaintly and instability in sectors of the Florida economy," Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, said during a speech at the Capitol Tiger Bay Club meeting today.
Gaetz noted there are five military bases in the Panhandle region he represents. Directly and indirectly, the defense and aerospace industries employs thousands of people who are already being furloughed and could face layoffs, he said.
Calling the sequester "the cloud that hangs over both the governor and the Legislature and all the budget assumptions," Geatz said he hopes Congress and President Barack Obama can find a way to agree on a long-term solution.
"My greatest fear is that they will kick the can down the road another three or six months," he said.
Gaetz's comments about the political gridlock in Washington led one Tiger Bay member to ask the Senate president if he was eyeing higher office. Gaetz said he's focused solely on his current role. "I have no aspirations to run for governor or any other office."