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Idaho soldiers face double-digit pay cut from sequestration

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jul 09 2013 07:42:04 PM CDT

860 full-time Idaho National Guard soldiers will start their ordered furloughs this week.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Federal spending cuts, stemming from the March sequestration, are now starting to affect military families.

Mandated furloughs are now a reality for members of the National Guard and it's hitting close to home.

860 full-time Idaho National Guard soldiers will start their ordered furloughs this week; including 6 army guardsmen in Idaho Falls and 13 total across eastern Idaho.

The spending cuts have been rough on the gem state. Idaho's defense spending took a $6.8 million dollar hit.

Because of that, uniformed personnel with the Idaho National Guard and their families are facing a double-digit pay cut.

"A 20 percent reduction in pay, that means probably the car isn't going to get replaced when it needs to be replaced," said Col. Tim Marsano. "New clothing isn't going to be bought."

The furloughs only affect uniformed personnel that serve as technicians, work Monday-Friday and are paid as federal employees.

From now until late September, these military members will only work 4 days a week.

"With one day a week of things not being maintained, who knows what will happen," said Col. Marsano. "Something is going to have to give. We're not sure exactly how it's going to play out between now and the end of the fiscal year on September 30th."

One concern is whether the Idaho National Guard would be prepared to assist in a wildfire, if needed.

Military leaders said the furloughs won't affect those soldiers ready to respond.

If they're called into state active duty by Governor Otter, then that's funded through the state and the sequestration doesn't affect those funds.

Col. Marsano said there is a silver lining with these mandated furloughs.

Originally, the National Guard was ordered to serve 22 furlough days, but that dropped down to 11.

The furloughs are expected to save the military between $2-3 billion for the fiscal year.

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