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Originally published: 2013-02-27 10:26:14
Last modified: 2013-02-27 10:26:14

Military cuts will harm NC, Hagan says

by Anna Oakes

North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, said Tuesday that more than 20,000 civilian employees at military bases in the state face furloughs under the impending March 1 sequestration cuts.

Hagan held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the sequester and its effects on North Carolina.

"I do not believe this is the way to get our fiscal house in order," said Hagan, adding that the cuts will threaten North Carolina's fragile economy and impact the nation's military readiness.

In efforts to contain the nation's rising debt, the U.S. Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which mandated automatic funding cuts to federal programs and services, including the military, unless Congress agreed to a new deficit reduction plan by Dec. 31, 2012.

The "fiscal cliff" deal reached by Congress Jan. 1 delayed that deadline by an additional two months, to March 1. As of Tuesday, Congress had yet to agree to a plan.

The automatic cuts, which total $1.2 trillion over 10 years, are to be split equally between defense and domestic discretionary spending.

Under the sequester, Hagan said, 22,000 civilian employees at N.C. military bases will see reduced pay through furloughs, training for non-deploying units "would be significantly curtailed" and some equipment maintenance would be delayed.

"Delaying preventive care today actually increases maintenance costs in the future," Hagan said.

On Monday, the White House released reports of sequestration impacts by state, including North Carolina.

According to the report, North Carolina will lose approximately $25.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, $16.8 million in funds for teachers and staff who help children with disabilities, $3.6 million in environmental funding to ensure clean air and water, $1.2 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection, $911,000 in funds to respond to public health threats, $401,000 in grants that support law enforcement and the justice system and other funding streams.