Nevada National Guard Anticipates Sequestration Cuts
"We've received notice from Secretary (Leon) Panetta that as of the end of April we could be facing one day a week furloughs for full-time military here. And part-timers could be looking at layoffs," says Nevada National Guard Spokesman Major Dennis Fournier. "That's a 20% cut in pay for families and that will trickle down into the local economy if it happens."
Fournier's concern isn't just for the families but also for the community. He says if aircraft and equipment aren't maintained and training isn't current, the Guard would be less effective in it's mission.
"I'm quite concerned," he says. "Services for our members could be curtailed as well. Suicide counseling, marriage counseling and mental health services for those returning from service could be impacted. Nothing is sure yet, but we are looking ahead to what it could mean."
Like so many other state agencies, the Nevada National Guard could likely see cuts in funding if there isn't some kind of deal struck in Washington, D.C. soon. And that could impact firefighting here this summer.
"If aircraft are grounded we can't help out. We are used to stepping up and now we are concerned that we'd be unable and unprepared," he says.
He agrees that there may be some budget cuts made that would make sense in some areas, but he says impacting people and families directly will be tough on everyone.
"We are hoping a deal is struck. We are hoping a decision is made. And we are hoping things will all work out. But we are not real optimistic that we and our services won't be impacted. And so we are already working on how to tighten things up if need be, and trying to figure out how to do it with the least impacts to everyone involved."
Nevada has 5,100 National Guard members. Fournier says right now, the National Guard Association in Washington is lobbying lawmakers trying to limit budget cuts and to push officials to work together on decisions.
Written by Erin Breen
Governor Brian Sandoval made the following statement today:
"Though I remain hopeful that federal leaders in Washington can come to the table to find a solution to avoid sequestration, I want my fellow Nevadans to know that I will do everything I can to mitigate the potential effects of sequestration on our state.
"Should sequestration go into effect, we must deal with the real world impacts of the cuts and guide Nevada through this period. Unlike elected officials in Washington, we must take swift action to mitigate the extensive consequences. My Administration started planning for sequestration last summer, knowing we may need a contingency plan should it go into effect. While we have worked to set money aside and have a plan to move forward, there are still some areas of the budget which will be affected.
"What's more, beyond our state budget, Nevada has a large federal presence. So whether you are a rancher who relies on the BLM for grazing permits or a traveler who relies on air traffic controllers, the potential impacts on our state's economy are great.
"We are continuing to plan for the effects of sequestration, but I know that Nevadans are resilient. I also know that even with sequestration looming over our country, Nevada will overcome and thrive because we will do what it takes to move our state forward."
Sunday, May 19 2013 7:02 PM EDT2013-05-19 23:02:30 GMT
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