Arkansans rally at Capitol over budget cuts

    6:28 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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    Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - With the looming budget cuts coming from the nation's capital, the American Federation Of Government Employees rallied at the state capitol to voice concern over the situation.

    Dave Gassett, a mechanic at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, is one of the 860 arsenal workers that could be hit with a 20 percent pay cut. That kind of decrease in pay would bring hard times for his family.

    "Yeah, my wife is already looking for a second job and I have a second job," Gassett explained.

    Gassett says civilian workers at the arsenal will have their work week shortened by one day if the President Barack Obama and Congress cannot reach a deal by midnight.

    Even though the arsenal will remain open, Gassett says his co-workers are worried about their livelihood.

    "A lot of our people that work there are on the lower part of the food chain. They're not making that much money and they're struggling as it is now," he said. "Wait till they cut 20 percent off."

    Among the speakers Friday was Arkansas Educators Association President Donna Morey, who says federal education programs will be greatly impacted if no agreement is met.

    "We know from the figures from the office of management and budget that over 72,000 children's programs will be affected by the sequester."

    The Pine Bluff Arsenal is looking at a loss of $23 million; Gassett says the sequester will be felt across the board.

    "When they start cutting all this money out it's going to affect our schools, our firemen, it's going to affect everything that our country does."

    And for one of Pine Bluff's largest employers, Gassett worries about his city's economic state.

    "With us working that much less, we have that much less to put in the economy and we're going to have to tighten our purses, so to speak, so we can make it through this."

    The possible sequestration would also impact Camp Robinson in North Little Rock with nearly $18 million dollar cut.

    Medicaid, social security, food stamps, and veteran benefits are exempt from the sequester.







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