To the Editor:
We would like to take a minute to point how sequestration will impact us here in Alaska. News reports about sequestration in the last several weeks have predicted everything from gloom and doom to minimal effects on the American people. Though the impact of the sequestration will be felt statewide, we will focus on how these cuts will affect Kodiak.
As everyone here knows, we are on an island. That said, we also know that there are two ways to get off the island which are plane or ferry. The ferry is state-run and is not impacted by sequestration, but it runs to and from the island only a couple times a week at best. Our main source of travel, the airport, is very much affected by the budget cuts, The control tower is FAA controlled, the screening for the Alaska Airlines jet is done by TSA, and fire protection is provided to the airport by the US Coast Guard Fire Department; these are all federal employees who may face furloughs or operational cuts in light of the sequestration.
If this happens, services to the rest of the island may be impacted. Additionally for those who are not aware we also have federal employees who work on the island for Federal and Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, NOAA Law Enforcement, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation to name a few.
As you can see there are several agencies that face cuts. One may ask why this matters. The answer is simple. Pay cuts via furloughs adversely impact the economy of our community. We shop at the same stores as the rest of the community; we purchase fuel, electricity, groceries, and many other goods just like everyone else. As income of our residents shrink, so do the revenues of our local small businesses as we will be forced to limit purchases just to survive. We will wait to paint the house, wait to service our car, and wait to get our hair cut. The effect will trickle down throughout the community.
There are other impacts which have not been addressed here as they are numerous, these include, the impact of federal grants, subsidies and other various federal monies which are normally available to help both the City and Borough of Kodiak with various projects which may or may not be available after the sequestration cuts take effect.
Contrary to popular belief, the sequestration will not only hit federal employees but will hit the community as a whole.
Thank you for your time.
AFGE Local 1115,
American Federation of Government Employees