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Sequester cuts could affect Battle Creek as well

Updated: Thursday, February 21 2013, 08:30 PM EST
Sequester cuts could affect Battle Creek as well story image
BATTLE CREEK (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Next week, massive cuts across the board in federal spending are scheduled to kick in, if lawmakers don’t reach a last-minute budget compromise.

If the more than $85 billion in cuts take hold, the Pentagon will take a $46 billion hit, but the cuts will also be felt outside Washington.

If the Agriculture Department furloughs, workers expect fewer food safety inspections and higher food prices. If the Homeland Security Department tells screeners to stay home, airport security lines are expected to grow.

This looming decision could have a real effect here in West Michigan, specifically on hundreds of military workers in Battle Creek.

“Many of our federal employees are tied to the military so they would be affected by those cuts so the air guard base, the federal center all of those employees would be affected,” said City Manager Ken Tsuchiyama.

The Battle Creek City manager says the impact would depend on how long these furloughs would last. If congress doesn’t act, civilian workers could face a one-day furlough each week.

“That's a 20% reduction in income and 20% reduction in income tax that they would pay to the city, whatever that is it would be a big impact,” Tsuchiyama.

The Battle Creek Air National Guard Base employs nearly 1,000 full-time and drill status guardsmen. It’s unclear how many of them would be affected by the cuts.

The Federal Center, which has about 1,400 civilian federal employees may also take a hit.

Congressman Justin Amash wrote us this statement:

“The federal government cannot continue to rack up trillions of dollars of debt, which stifles economic growth, costs jobs, and hurts our children and grandchildren’s futures. I don’t believe that across-the-board cuts are the smartest way to reduce federal spending, because they target valuable and wasteful programs alike. But the most irresponsible thing Congress could do is not to cut spending at all, which would force us to make substantially deeper budget cuts---including military cuts---in the next few years.”

Bottom line, the biggest impact this will have is on those families.

“Where these employees shop for their groceries where they go out to eat. They're usually a very stable job and so they’re the jobs you wanna have in a community,” said Tsuchiyama.

Congress is out of town and won’t be back until Monday, leaving little time to make a deal.
Sequester cuts could affect Battle Creek as well
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