Idaho’s already sputtering economy could take a hit as military officials and Congress slash billions from the armed forces budget over the next decade.
It is unclear exactly what the cuts will mean for the thousands of employees, soldiers and airmen at Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field in Boise.
But today, the state’s two military bases serve as economic engines, driving well over $1 billion of economic impact in Southwest Idaho.
“It is so early in the process,” said Brad Hoaglun, spokesman for Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. Risch worries that cuts could “have a serious impact on Idaho and overall defense.”
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has outlined a plan that would trim more than $450 billion from the country’s armed forces over the next decade — about 8 percent of total defense spending. If Congress pushes a plan for even deeper cuts, the Pentagon could face a loss of $1 trillion.
Panetta will soon unveil some specifics.
Hoaglun said there has been no mention yet of cuts that would immediately or directly affect either base.
Likewise, officials at both bases said it is too early to comment.
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