A new Army analysis says the Rock Island Arsenal would take a
$197 million hit from automatic budget cuts this year.
It also says Iowa and Illinois would experience a $455 million economic loss.
The analysis is the first to come from the Army that forecasts the bite that budget cuts would take out of Arsenal this year. The cuts include the much-talked-about sequestration, the $85 billion in reductions to overall federal spending that are scheduled to begin March 1 and last through the end of September.
Army officials have been issuing grave warnings for months about the impact of the cuts. But the 55-page presentation sent to Congress earlier this week could bolster their case, given that it projects specific — and harsh — consequences for individual states.
Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, has been critical of sequestration, and he was again Thursday when asked about the new report.
“The bottom line is that sequestration is unacceptable,” he said. “It will and already is having a real-life impact on the hard-working men and women at Rock Island Arsenal and their families, as well as the Quad-Cities economy as a whole.”
It’s not clear how the Army came up with the Arsenal figure or whether it refers to the entire island or just part of it. The report says Arsenal reductions would be $197 million. That’s the same figure used for cuts to depot operations in the state. The Arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, while not technically a depot, is often referred to generally as such, and it’s the only operation of its type in the state. Its annual budget, however, is expected to be $222 million.
Many of the other agencies on the Arsenal are contracting and logistics operations.
The Army did not respond to specific questions about how the Arsenal figure was determined. The analysis was conducted by the Army’s program analysis and evaluation directorate in Washington, D.C.
The report also says that 1,008 jobs would be lost in Illinois because of decreased depot operations in the state. But it’s not clear exactly where those losses would occur. An additional 298 private-contractor jobs would be lost because of reduced military investments, the report said.
A spokesman for the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center said Thursday it is studying the report.
“We are assessing the information depicted on the chart that shows the potential impacts to the entire state of Illinois,” Rhys Fullerlove, a center spokesman, said. “We have not determined the total impact on the organization. We are working with our higher headquarters to determine how it could affect Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center.”
Overall, the report says 7,062 Army civilian workers would take furloughs by sequestration this year in Illinois, accounting for $4.2 million in lost pay. There are 4,900 civilians working on Arsenal Island. Most of the rest of the approximately 7,500 employees on the base are either uniformed military personnel or contractors, who would not be furloughed. In Iowa, the report says 353 jobs would be affected, and the economic loss would be $53 million.
The Arsenal has not said how many of its civilian employees would be affected. But Lira Frye, a spokeswoman for the Army Materiel Command, the higher headquarters for some of the larger agencies on the island, said the “vast majority” of workers would be affected.
“There are very limited exceptions,” she said.
The furloughs are expected to be for 22 days through the end of September. That would amount to about 20 percent of a worker’s pay through the end of the fiscal year. The furloughs, if they occur, would likely begin in April.
Sequestration was created by Congress and the White House as part of the 2011 debt ceiling agreement. It requires $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.