Idaho National Guard braces for cuts, furloughs

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by Andrea Lutz

NWCN.com

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 12:23 AM

BOISE -- We are just days away from the sequester, which could mean major impacts to the Idaho National Guard.

Unless Congress can come to an agreement on a budget before Friday, across-the-board spending cuts will take effect in domestic programs and military.

Some of the biggest cuts will be made and felt at Gowen Field.

Department of Defense employees will be forced to take unpaid days off if the sequestration goes into effect.

Statewide, Idaho's military finances will be reduced by roughly $6 million.

We learned today that 810 employees will be required to furlough. That means those working on the equipment at Gowen Field could stop at least one day a week.

Employees will face a 20 percent reduction in pay.  And the maintenance on military equipment will slow down.

“It would be mean that a lot of services that we provide would be reduced. For example, what we see here - helicopter maintenance - would be reduced, which would mean that our readiness to respond to both federal and state emergencies would also be reduced, so there are some definite consequences,” said Col. Tim Marsano, Idaho National Guard.

If the Idaho National Guard is unable to maintain equipment, it could pose a problem when it comes to rescues.

Marsano says last year they responded eight rescues around Idaho after local agencies couldn’t gain access.  The Idaho National Guard also sent over 200 employees to major wildfires in 2012.

That could change if the sequestration does take effect on March first.

If it does, the Idaho National Guard will get a 30-day notice before these cuts take effect.

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