MCLB furloughs could mean shaky ground for businesses
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Furloughs for civilian workers at military bases around the country began Monday, leaving economists not asking if, but how much will it affect South Georgia's economy.
The furloughs are a result of the federal sequester budget cuts and affect about 2-thousand workers at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
Albany city commissioner Ivey Hines is feeling effects of the furloughs at Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base firsthand.
"Some of the things we'll be curtailing would be going out for entertainment type activities, going to restaurants or going to movies," says Hines.
For more than 29 years Hines has worked as an IT specialist at the base. He is one of about 2,000 MCLB civilian employees who have to take one unpaid day off each week starting Monday through September 16th. That's 11 days total and a 20 percent reduction in pay.
"There are very few families who have 20 percent of their income that can just all of a sudden disappear and it has no impact," reminds Hines. He says it's expected to be felt across the community. "Whenever a large segment of the population gets a significant reduction in their income, that the whole community will be impacted because that's money that's not turning over in the community itself."
"I think we're going to see an impact, it may be that the economy won't take off as strongly as it might have, says Albany City Commissioner Roger Marietta. "I think our local economy is growing, but this will slow it down over the next quarter."
While furloughs are kicking in at bases across the country, Aaron Johnson, the assistant Professor of Economics at Darton College, believes South Georgia will see more of an effect.
"It's very difficult to determine exactly what impact it will be because it's not going to be a direct impact, says Johnson. "But given that that's one of our largest employers in town, I think that our area will be impacted more so than other areas."
Marietta and Hines both hope national leaders see the negative results of and find other ways to balance the budget.
Meanwhile Johnson believes it will take a few months to see how seriously the furloughs will impact the economy because of delays in reporting data.
Active-duty personnel are not affected by the furloughs.
In Georgia 37,000 civilian Department of Defense employees will have to take furlough days.