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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LV Times guest column: Fort Leavenworth cuts have multiplier effect that would 'impact us all'

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  • We need your input for the future of our community.
    The Leavenworth area is the proud home of Fort Leavenworth and the Combined Arms Center, which provides an economic impact of $2.8 billion for not only the Leavenworth-Lansing area, but also the Kansas City metropolitan area.
    As has been described in previous articles in the Leavenworth Times and other news media, due to pending budget cuts, the U.S. Army is developing plans for a reduction in force.
    If proposed federal sequestration cuts are not reversed before Fiscal Year 2016, the Army will need to contract from a war-time high of 570,000 military and civilian personnel to 420,000.
    The plan currently under consideration could cut Fort Leavenworth’s military and civilian personnel in half — from approximately 5,000 jobs to 2,500.
    This proposed reduction in force would have a significant impact on the city of Leavenworth, Leavenworth County and the entire Kansas City region.
    The Army will accept public comment on the SPEA through Aug. 25. The link to email your comments, as well as some talking points, is on the Chamber of Commerce website, http://www.llchamber.com/index.php/chamber/177-spea, or you can email your comments directly to usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.
    For your information, I found the following on the Fort Leavenworth Garrison site, “Fort Leavenworth Statistics As of 30 September 2013.” This is a snapshot of the current expenditures impacting our area, and I have stated them below in rounded numbers. Detailed numbers can be found at http://garrison.leavenworth.army.mil/.
    • Military payroll — $328 million.
    • Civilian payroll — $205 million.
    • Mission, MEDDAC and other expenditures — $216 million.
    • Travel expenditures — $16 million.
    • Major construction — $51 million.
    • Post schools annual budget — $69 million.
    There are other important details in this report, to include the annual number of visitors — more than $82,000. Imagine the impact to our business community, employment opportunities, and the local economy in general if these figures were cut in half.
    Other impacts of force reduction:
    • Due to its unique training mission, the economic impact of Fort Leavenworth includes 34,000 hotel room nights and 6,000 airline tickets purchased each year.
    • A cutback of 2,500 military jobs would result in a total loss of 4,944 jobs across a broad range of industries in Leavenworth County due to the multiplier effect. This would mean a loss of $335 million in earnings in the county.
    • The loss of 2,500 personnel is expected to affect a total population of 6,355, including spouses and children.
    • The proposed reduction in force at Fort Leavenworth would have a negative effect on the region’s fragile recovery from the Great Recession.
    Page 2 of 2 - Comments must be in by Aug. 25. I have sent my comments in, and I hope you will, too.
    These proposed cuts would definitely impact us all.

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