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Army lays out sweeping state-by-state spending cuts

7:33 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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By Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today

WASHINGTON -- The Army estimates automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will have a $15 billion economic impact and affect more than 300,000 jobs nationwide, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

Hardest hit states include Alabama, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Among the least affected: Delaware, Wyoming, Montana and Rhode Island.

The military faces $500 billion in budget cuts over 10 years from sequestration -- automatic budget cuts. The Army anticipates that it will need to slash $18 billion in spending by the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30.

"It reaffirms what we have continued to say about the serious implications that sequestration will have on our national defense and broader economic well-being," said Mike Amato, a spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

The cuts will affect every Army installation, according to the documents. States with large bases and military contractors are taking the biggest hits.

Texas, for instance, would face a $2.4 billion economic loss from the Army's budget cuts. Nearly 30,000 Army civilian employees will be furloughed if the cuts go into effect. They will lose $180 million in pay. Texas is home to two of the Army's largest installations -- Fort Hood and Fort Bliss.

In testimony last week on Capitol Hill, Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told lawmakers that 3,100 temporary employees were being laid off and a hiring freeze had been implemented because of the budget crisis. Maintenance would be canceled and training for soldiers not headed to Afghanistan or South Korea would be curtailed.

The states most affected have big maintenance depots, which will be shuttered in coming months because of the cuts. Pennsylvania, for example, has two major maintenance depots and is targeted for $751 million in savings. Its Letterkenny Depot upgrades weapons systems, including Patriot missiles.

The Air Force estimates that furloughs of its civilian employees to deal with the budget cuts will cost them $7.7 billion in wages. Georgia would be hardest hit, with 15,529 employees losing $120 million in pay.

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