Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Monday, April 8, 2013

Virginia’s Contract-Fat Fairfax Digs In for Leaner Years, Bloomberg, April 8, 2013

When Mobil Corp. quit midtown Manhattan for 130 green acres in Fairfax County, Virginia, its new neighbors included country stores, dairy farms and a highway that ringed the nation’s capital. Mobil brought hope that the suburb could break free of its Washington ties to build its own world-class economy.
More than 26 years later, the largest U.S. oil company -- now Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) -- is leaving Fairfax and the county is more dependent upon the U.S. government than ever. Even as prize employers including Volkswagen AG (VOW) and Hilton Worldwide Inc. opened shop, federal spending as a share of the county’s economy has almost doubled since 2002, to 14.4 percent. Last year, the U.S. funneled more procurement dollars to Fairfax than anywhere else, almost $28 billion.
The county’s fortunes are so aligned with the government’s that Moody’s Investors Service has said Fairfax’s AAA bond rating could be hurt if U.S. debt is downgraded.

Photographer: Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images
Now, the county of 1.1 million people, whose $194 billion economy is bigger than Hungary’s, is bracing for its share of federal spending cuts, known as sequestration, that began last month. . . .
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