FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) - Northern Virginia is the economic engine of the state. What is it that's transformed and built the economy? Federal contracting.
From 1980 through 2009, federal contracting in Northern Virginia increased from $1.7 billion to $38.5 billion, according Dr. Stephen Fuller with George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis.
But there's worry the bottom could fall out.
"Government contractors stop doing business in Fairfax County because there is no business, I mean it will be dramatically reduced," said John Foust, Supervisor for the Dranesville District of Fairfax County, worrying about what will happen if we go over the Fiscal Cliff. He and Supervisor Jeff McKay were part of the unanimous county board vote this week asking Congress to hurry up and resolve the impending sequestration.
"I you go and make the kind of cuts that some are suggesting that happen, then you're hurting a lot of the small businesses in Fairfax County that rely on federal contracts for their livelihood. Ultimately that trickles down and affects Fairfax County," said McKay.
In 2009, Fairfax County pulled in $23 Billion in federal contracting. That's more than any other county in the nation, and its $3 billion more than Washington, D.C.
So what is it that makes Fairfax County so attractive?
Dulles Airport, according to Stephen Fuller.
Fuller says the international airport provides easy access to Washington via on it's limited access highway. He says Dulles also provides connections to both national and international markets. The recent recession has left many commercial vacancies. But if funding drops out, more buildings will go empty and commercial property taxes, which fuel the county's economy, will decline.
"We want a balanced approach to help us get out of this, but, it will have a significant impact on Fairfax County if Congress does nothing," said McKay.
The largest expenditure for Fairfax and other area counties is the school budget. Less money for local counties means less money for schools.