DRANESVILLE, Va. (WUSA) - Schools in Northern Virginia could take a hit if Virginia cuts budgets to offset the fiscal cliff.
Governor Bob McDonnell's office directed agencies to identify potential cuts of four percent . Fourteen percent of the Fairfax County school budget comes from the state. Dranesville supervisor John Foust says any cut to that would hurt.
"We're going to be concerned about any cut in funding, given how tight our budget is. Especially since we feel like the state is underfunding us now, so to take anything away from that would not be good," said Foust.
Economists predict up to a half a million jobs could be lost in D.C. area. That would lead to vacant buildings, and a sharp decline in commercial real estate taxes, which is a major source of funding.
Foust grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where steel mills created a bustling economy. Today, the mills are abandoned, and jobs are scarce. Foust says Fairfax County is searching ways to diversify its economy so it can move away from it's heavy reliance on federal spending.
'"It has been nice to have the federal government to fall back on, the government contractors and government employment, but, I'm personally from an area that relied on the steel mills until it was too late and there was no diversification . I don't want to see that happen to Fairfax County," said Foust.
While there is optimism that Congress will stop the fiscal cliff, it's been a little too close for comfort and, like never before, local governments are doing what other places are across the country and looking to attract new industry.