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Mon February 25, 2013
Local Effects Of Automatic Federal Budget Cuts Hazy
Northwest military bases, universities, national labs and parks await guidance for how to implement automatic federal budget cuts. The so-called "sequester" is scheduled to take effect Friday. The White House Sunday released a state by state report detailing the impacts of automatic spending cuts. You can read the report on how these cuts could affect Idaho here.
The commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific says every scenario he's contemplated for the automatic spending cuts hurts readiness. Admiral Samuel Locklear had just toured Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma on Friday. Locklear says one of the most visible impacts will be furloughs of civilian defense workers, which could start in April.
"You take a 20 percent cut in pay automatically, you come to work 20 percent less," explains Locklear. "This filters through everything from our maintenance, our flight line capabilities, our shipbuilding industry. I'm hopeful that the impact is only near-term and we'll get through this."
Other big recipients of federal funding in the region include our research universities and public health departments. Washington's Department of Health has calculated that it will have thousands fewer vaccinations to hand out to underinsured children, to give one example.