Expert: Trump’s defense spending hike could significantly boost local economy

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – President Donald Trump’s proposed budgetary hike to defense spending could provide a “significant boost” to the local economy, according to a local expert.

Vinod Agarwal, an economics professor at Old Dominion University and director of the school’s Economic Forecasting Project, told 10 On Your Side that Hampton Roads could see a substantial chunk of Trump’s $54 billion increase, if approved.

“Hampton Roads turns out to be the third largest metropolitan area in the United States with a federal presence,” he said. “So, what happens in federal spending obviously has a significant impact on the economy.”

Agarwal said the region’s economy has stagnated since 2009, having taken a hit by the recession and sequestration. For about five years, there’s been little defense spending growth.

Trump’s proposal would mean a 10 percent increase. Agarwal said that even five percent could make a big difference.

But whether any hike happens, remains to be seen.

“I still question it, because President Trump still has to have this budget passed through the U.S. Congress and $54 billion is a significant amount of money.”

Trump’s proposed budget will go before Congress next month. It reportedly includes cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid, which will likely be opposed by lawmakers on both sides.

According to experts, a government shutdown is a possibility.