Budget deadline could spell layoffs in Clarksville - WKRN News 2

Budget deadline could spell layoffs in Clarksville

Posted: Updated: Feb 20, 2013 10:41 AM

Possible layoffs to one of Clarksville's biggest employers have businesses worried a booming economy in the city could soon turn downward.

Secretary Leon Panetta announced Tuesday the Army could see 300,000 job losses in connection with automatic budget cuts if Congress doesn't reach a budget deal with the president by March.

The automatic budget cuts are also known as sequestration. The cuts are across the board for government agencies if Congress and President Barack Obama do not agree on a Federal budget that reduces the nation's deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. 

Panetta said if the cuts take place it will mean a $53 million economic loss to Tennessee and 2,671 jobs affected state wide.

The cuts would call for a $1 million reduction at Camp Milan, a $3 million reduction at the Tennessee USAR and $13.4 million reduction at Tennessee ARNG.

That includes, 2,496 civilian furloughs, 64 private sector jobs lost from reduced military investments, 89 jobs lost from decreased military construction and 22 contractor jobs impacted.

At Fort Campbell the reduction would be $69 million.

Fort Campbell's reduction was calculated into the economic loss for Kentucky, which would be $606 million with 15,016 jobs affected statewide.

"It is scary for Clarksville, "Realty Title closing attorney Steven Richardson said. "Anything that happens at the post makes Clarksville nervous."

Richardson has been in business for several years in Clarksville. He remembers when the town was a "ghost town" after soldiers deployed for Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s.

"Agents were leaving," he said. "Homes weren't being sold and a lot of real estate firms shut down. They couldn't get the business."

He said following a tough few years in the 2007 and 2008 the housing market has been improving in Clarksville.

This year so far has been especially promising.

"This winter has been abnormally busy we have a lot of buying and selling going on," he said. "This time last year it was slow and this year I have got to get help up here."

Richardson said if the automatic cuts take effect the city would once again be facing a tough economic time.

He said impending layoffs from Hemlock Semiconductor already has folks in Clarksville worried. 

Hemlock announced weeks ago it would layoff around 300 workers in Mid-March. The company manufactures polysilicon.

"It will definitely affect the market because anytime anyone says anything about the financial market people start to hold on to their money," he said.

In addition to the cuts the army would have to curtail training for 80% of ground forces across all specialties, according to Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno.

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