Budget cuts will effect Yuma's military, agriculture and tourism


Budget cuts will effect Yuma's military, agriculture and tourism

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YUMA, Ariz. – (KSWT News 13) - Of the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts, more than half is coming out of defense.

The military is Yuma's number two economy, second only to agriculture.

Thousands of people will be affected in Yuma alone, draining millions of dollars from our economy.

Agriculture, the military, tourism: all three top economies stand to lose if the budget cuts of March 1st are kept in place for an extended period of time.

"We're planning on a furlough of about 700 government civilian employees, but that won't start until the end of April," says Chuck Wullenjohn, Public Information Officer for the Yuma Proving Ground.

Wullenjohn says each civilian employee will work eight fewer hours per week for twenty-two weeks.

"That adds up to about 3.6 million dollars," says Wullenjohn.

That's money those people won't have anymore to spend in Yuma businesses.

"In addition we have about 1,000 to 1,400 employees out there who are contract employees," adds Wullenjohn.

Wullenjohn says those contractors provide significant services to the Yuma Proving Ground and they too, will be affected.

But the effects will be felt well beyond YPG.

"The Department of Defense throughout the entire nation is planning to furlough 800,000 employees starting the last week of April," explains Wullenjohn.

That's right. The DoD is treating everyone the same by cutting eight hours per week from their schedule … and from their pay.

"That includes YPG, MCAS, Border Patrol... any other government agency you can pretty much think of," says Wullenjohn.

While active-duty personnel won't be affected, government civilians are. At Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, there are about 900 civilians employed. Border Patrol ... the list goes on.

While spending cuts go into effect March 1st, Wullenjohn says the furloughs aren't scheduled to take effect until mid-to-late April, giving Washington lawmakers a little more time to reach a compromise before local economies start to feel the real pinch of prolonged budget cuts.

Federal funds for farming are on the chopping block as well.

And with less money in their pockets, people will be traveling less.

Over time, agriculture and tourism will feel their fair share of budget cut pain as well.

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