Defense Department cuts looming

4:42 PM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC) - Defense Department furloughs will begin in late April unless congress does something to avoid automatic spending cuts set to take place next week.

That could have a major effect on communities that surround and support military bases.

"What we're really concerned about is how it will affect the families that we serve," says Trinity Dovovan of Chandler, Arizona's Chandler Christian Community Center.

Donovan worries about filling hundreds of food boxes for the needy.

Car salesman Mike Braswell is concerned about the 1,200 civilian workers facing furloughs at nearby Luke Air Force Base.

"80 percent of our business is from our military here at Luke," Braswell says. "It's vital. It hurts everybody."

Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith is wary of Washington's ax hitting his fire department.

Phoenix Fire is alarmed it might lose federal money for dozens of positions as well.

The impact of automatic spending cuts on defense is getting much of the attention.

Studies rank Arizona among the top ten states that would be hit hardest.

40,000 jobs at defense contractors are at risk in the state, and 3,000 civilian military employees face furloughs and the loss of one-month's pay.

The biggest unknown is if what will Congress will be able to stop the cuts within the next few days.

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