Federal Spending Cuts Effects on Maine Agencies
$85 billion in spending cuts on a national level could affect many agencies in Maine. Because of that, those agencies have been watching what’s going on in congress very closely.”We’re watching them the same as the public is, on the news and paying particularly close attention to the Pentagon channel, and hopefully we’ll see this averted,” said Major Michael Steinbuchel, Public Affairs Officer at the Maine National Guard.At the Maine National Guard, they’re concerned about how sequestration would affect their operations and their readiness. It would mean one furlough day a week for 22 weeks for 570 of their employees. Those employees work in aircraft and vehicle maintenance, as well as training. “We think that the greatest impact that this will have will be on our ability to provide ready forces for the citizens of the state of Maine. As you know, beyond our operation deployments to Afghanistan and throughout the world, we’re also able to provide support in the event of a domestic emergency,” said Major Steinbuchel.Employees at Bangor International Airport would also feel the effects of these cuts. The airport would have to close its tower at night, meaning there would be no overnight air traffic controllers.Assistant Airport Director James Canders said, “The airplanes would still be able to come in. The airport would be open, but there wouldn’t be a controller here on site to guide them onto the ground. They’d be controlled primarily out of Boston.”At Acadia National Park, they’ve already been issued a hiring freeze. The park could lose 5% of its budget, equaling $390,000. Right now they have six vacant permanent positions they don’t plan on filling anytime soon.”If we do not fill any of those positions, we will achieve almost our $390,000, not all of it. We’ll still have to reduce our supplies and materials by about $50,000, but with that said, it’s unrealistic to think we can leave those positions vacant indefinitely,” said Len Bobinchock, Deputy Superintendent at Acadia National Park.Many of those positions are critical to park operation. If and when they are filled, it would mean cuts to the summer workforce.The park, the airport, and the guard are putting together contingency plans, as well as many other federally funded agencies that could be working with less by the end of the week.