Q-C employees, social services feel impact of sequester


Share
Originally Posted Online: March 20, 2013, 10:20 pm
Last Updated: March 21, 2013, 12:34 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Kevin Smith ksmith@qconline.com

With furloughs for Rock Island Arsenal employees about a month away,speakers at a Quad-City Federation of Labor forum in Rock Island Wednesday said sequestration may stall the local economy.

About 30 temporary and contracted employees were cut from the arsenal last week, according to Steve Beck of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 15.

Nearly all arsenal employees will be required to take one furlough day per week starting April 22 through the end of September, said Mr. Beck, who also is an arsenal employee.

Under sequestration, which began March 1, approximately $1.2 billion in across-the-board cuts will be made to government agencies during the next 10 years. Those cuts include$200 million of the arsenal's budget, Mr. Beck said; $40 million of that would have otherwise been spent on employees.

The impact on arsenal employees is "huge," he said; their incomes will be trimmed by about 20 percent. But Mr. Beck said it's difficult to estimate how it will affect the rest of the area.

"It's going to broadly impact the economy and those in need of government services," he said.

Sandy Walters, executive director of Humility of Mary Housing, said the sequester will affect social services that largely benefit seniors and veterans. With 29 percent of her budget financed by federal grants, she said sequestration may force her to cut staff.

Tracy Leone, an organizer for the Iowa Federation of Labor, said she expects sequestration will have a large impact on the local economy. The salary cuts will mean less money circulating through the Quad-Cities, he said.

"Altogether it's going to send our economy into a tailspin," she added.

Mr. Beck said sequestration may not return the economy to recession levels, and employees outside of government may not feel the effects right away. But those effects are inevitable, he said, unless people contact their legislators.

The sequester's negative effects still can be avoided, he said, if enough people convince lawmakers that the "ideological debate" over the the size of the government is less important than maintaining jobs and government services.

"No one knows how it's going to play out," he said. "We've never been here before."

















 



Local events heading








  Today is Sunday, July 27, the 208th day of 2014. There are 157 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rock Island Paper Mill is now operating. It is an establishment which our people ought to encourage by saving all rags for the mill, where you can get cash and the highest prices for them.
1889 -- 125 years ago: E. W. Robinson purchased from J.T. Miller the livery stable on the triangle south of Market Square.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Henry Kramer was elected president of the Tri-City Typothetae Franklin Club, which took the place of the Tri-City Ben Franklin Club.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Floyd Furh, Illinois City, was first-place winner in the second annual Gov. Horner Farm floral contest.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Nearly 4,000 people are expected to attend weekend sessions of the Jehovah's Witnesses Assembly being held at the Masonic Temple.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The B-29 Super-Fortress bomber is impressive looking, and it did the job during World War II. Its claim to fame is dropping the atomic bombs in Japan to end the war. Only one B-29 is operational in the world today. It is on display at the Quad City Airport in Moline until Friday.






(More History)