Military cuts could be costly for Oklahomans who work for Air Force

By Chris Casteel

WASHINGTON — Federal spending cuts set to be triggered on March 1 would mean 16,000 U.S. Air Force civilians in Oklahoma could be furloughed, mostly at Tinker Air Force Base, depriving those workers of nearly $125 million in pay over six months, Air Force officials said.

The severity of the impact in Oklahoma, which has three Air Force bases, would be second only to Texas, where the payroll hit would top $127 million.

Should across-the-board cuts, known as the sequester, go into effect, furloughs likely would begin in mid-April, military leaders told Congress last week. Some workers may be furloughed as many as 22 days between April and Sept. 30. That would amount to a 20 percent pay cut during that time frame, according to the Air Force’s top uniformed leader.

In addition to the furloughs, about $20 million in scheduled work to maintain or modernize Air Force bases in Oklahoma would be canceled.

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