Pentagon Sends Letter to O’Malley on Budget Cuts
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Army would lose $95 million in base operations across Maryland and furloughs of civilian employees could result in a $359 million payroll reduction under federal spending cuts, according to a letter sent Friday from the Pentagon to Gov. Martin O’Malley.
The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, said the Air Force would lose at least $10 million to its operations, including reductions in facilities projects at Andrews Air Force Base. The Navy would lose $9 million for a demolition project at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
“We are still assessing detailed changes and will be able to provide additional information on cutbacks in Maryland as we compile a more complete list,” wrote Ashton Carter, the deputy defense secretary.
President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders are in a standoff as $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts are scheduled to begin by midnight.
Carter sent warning letters to the governors of 10 states that would be the most severely affected. They include Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Alabama and Washington.
If all the cutbacks end up being imposed without further action in Washington, most of the Defense Department’s civilian employees would be placed on unpaid furlough status for up to 22 discontinuous workdays. There are 46,000 Defense Department civilian employees in Maryland.
“If we have to impose these furloughs, it will mean roughly a 20 percent pay cut over a nearly six month period for these dedicated civil servants, who in turn will presumably spend less in your economy,” Carter wrote.
The Pentagon estimates a 22-workday furlough could result in a payroll reduction of about $359 million in Maryland.
“Lastly, it should be noted that sequestration will also affect Defense contractors and, therefore, the industrial base in your state,” the letter said.
O’Malley noted the uncertainty of the budget battle in Washington when he released his budget proposal in January. The governor increased the state’s Rainy Day Fund from 5 percent to 6 percent of the state’s $16 billion general fund. Altogether, the governor’s budget proposal leaves the state with about $1.1 billion in reserves to help adjust to federal cuts.
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