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Pa. National Guard: sequester cuts would be drastic - abc27 WHTM

Pa. National Guard: sequester cuts would be drastic

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Time is running out to stop automatic budget cuts in Washington set to take effect March 1. It's now raising concerns over military cuts in south-central Pennsylvania.

The majority of Pennsylvania National Guard funding comes from the federal, not the state, government -- 96 percent to be exact. Tuesday, Adjutant General Wesley Craig told abc27 if no deal is reached by the end of February, it could have long-term and detrimental effects on his workforce and their ability to respond to national disasters and international crises.

Craig said he will be asked to make 12-13 percent cuts across the board, and that means furloughs and layoffs of both uniform and civilian workers as well as reduction of training operations.

One group greatly effected would be maintenance employees who ensure all ground equipment and aircraft are running smoothly. Craig says cuts to groups like that would have a chain effect on readiness of the guard.

"If there's another major snowstorm or a problem with a blizzard or a hurricane, I have less troops and they're less ready. I have less equipment I could put in the field for the governor, so that's a bad thing," Craig said. "That upsets me greatly that (the federal government) would feel so ill of us, that they would argue over political differences at the expense of people who are willing to put their lives on the line to defend the country."

If no stopgap measure is reached in Washington by the end of the month, the National Guard will begin notifying employees of furloughs and layoffs beginning March 1. The cuts would likely take effect by early April.

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