Fed Cuts Hit Home Hard

Mandatory federal budget cuts, enacted because Congress failed to approve a federal funding plan, are beginning to ripple through Alabama.

Among the first to point a finger at federal indecision are officials in Dothan. The city and county have been staggering after Pemco closed its aircraft overhaul facilities at the local airport. Just one day before they hoped to announce a new company ready to move into the site, after a set of incentive tax breaks had been approved, the announcement was abruptly called off.  The next day officials said the company was getting cold feet, fearing federal budget cuts would undermine air traffic control at the airport and hobble their business.

Dothan city officials announced in early April that Commercial Jet Inc. will move into the idle Pemco facility, bringing a 500-employee maintenance, repair and overhaul business.

Alabama schools are expected to lose $20 million in federal funding, while law enforcement, job placement and public health programs also will face cuts, and the state expects about $275 million in cuts to military programs and personnel.

In late February, the Department of Defense said it was slowing payments to prime contractors in preparation for expected cuts, called sequestration.

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The military announced, one branch after another, that tuition subsidy programs for active duty personnel were being cut.

And, in a tiny bit of turnabout, the DOD announced that it would severely limit transport it has provided as a courtesy to members of Congress and their staffs.

Nedra Bloom

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