Businesses around Scott AFB brace for sequestration

6:55 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP/KSDK) - The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in Friday will be put off until as close to midnight Friday night as possible. Call them the Cinderella cuts.

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that "on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013." That's budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1. Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday - or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.

Because, Carney's says, Obama is "ever hopeful."

Meanwhile, in Belleville, business owners around Scott Air Force Base wonder what it might mean for them. Because Scott is more than an Air Force Base. For area merchants, it's a customer base.

John Padilla owns a 2-in-1 business, Quick Mart & Teriyaki Grill, located right outside the Shiloh Gate. Friday afternoon, Padilla had a late lunch rush in the carry-out restaurant section of his business.

"When I came to work I didn't know how busy we were going to be because of that," said Padilla. "Because everbody's uncertain what's going to happen. It's frustrating when you put these grown men in office and they can't compromise on anything."

At the other end of the mall next to Scott Air Force Base, John Flaugher, owner of Flowers Travel, is counting on things other than civilian business from his military neighbor next door.

"We've got a lot of good, loyal customers that we've had from day-1. And we do a lot of tours and cruises," he said. "And we're very big in Branson, the motor coach business in Branson."

Scott AFB officials have announced a series of town hall meetings to discuss possible civilian furloughs. The 375th Air Mobility Wing Civilian Personnel Office will conduct town hall meetings to explain the details of the administrative furlough, how it will impact civilian workforce, and answer questions. Informational meetings will be held at the base theater.

The dates are:
--March 4, 8, and 11 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m.
--March 5 from 3- 4:30 p.m.

Questions can be sent in advance to Civilian Personnel at 375FSS.FSMC@US.AF.MIL.

Associated Press / KSDK

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