Editorial: The dark cloud


Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

These are heady times for Gainesville's innovation economy.

This week's ribbon-cutting ceremony for newly arrived Mindtree Limited, Prioria Robotics' decision to stay and grow here in Gainesville, the flurry of local start-ups that have recently attracted tens of millions of dollars in financing — all these developments speak positively of our economic future.

But if there is a dark cloud looming over Gainesville's promising job creation environment it is emanating from Washington D.C. And it can be expressed in one word: Sequestration.

Unless President Obama and members of Congress are able to fashion a "grand bargain" on taxes and spending, and soon, automatic across the board spending cuts will go into effect. Many of those reductions will cut at the very heart of what is fueling this university community's economic growth.

Those cuts will greatly compromise the ability of the Defense Department, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Endowment for the Humanities and other federal agencies to underwrite university-based research and development. Also at risk are Pell Grants, student work-study funds and other programs that help make university attendance affordable.

To the extent that sequestration is a political contrivance, it is altogether avoidable. All that is required — now that the election is over — is for Democrats and Republicans to come together in a good-faith effort to confront the federal government's fiscal problems in a more rational and selective manner.

Make no mistake, Gainesville's innovation economy very much hinges on the decisions made in D.C. over the coming days and weeks. We simply cannot afford still more of the same partisan gridlock.

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