“Sequester” Cuts Stand to Affect Illinois

Several operations in Illinois would have to scale back if the federal budget cuts known as the “sequester” go into effect on Friday. Chris Slaby reports.

Colonel David Almand is the commander of an air wing at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, in southern Illinois.

He said the base is preparing for possible cuts by limiting flyover training and requiring more than 45-hundred civilian employees take days off without pay.

ALMAND: “We’ve really tried to tighten our budget because if the cuts come into play and … we lose up to 20 percent of our budget, then we’ve got to stretch it to the end of the year, and that’s just doing the minimum requirements.”

Col. Almand estimates the unpaid days off could cost the region about $30 million in economic activity.

The state’s agriculture industry could feel even more economic impact.

Federal law requires all meat be inspected before hitting shelves. Jeff Squibb, with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said the federal government currently pays half of the inspectors’ salaries.

If that money is cut, some inspectors could be laid off. Those remaining would have increased workloads, or as Squibb says:

SQUIBB: “Businesses would have to shut down because of a lack of inspectors.”

The cuts could even impact Abe Lincoln home in Springfield, which is a national park site.

—Chris Slaby

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