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Pentagon furloughs to cost Miss. over $50 million in payroll

The numbers are starting to come in on the cost of the $86 billion federal budget sequester that kicks in March 1.

For starters, Mississippi stands to lose $50.4 million in civilian defense payroll this year. That loss is to come from the planned furloughs of 800,000 Department of Defense civilians workers as part of the approximate $ 5 billion hit the Pentagon will take from the scheduled sequester.

The Pentagon formally notified Congress Wednesday of the planned furloughs that could ultimately lead to 22 days of unpaid leave for most of the Department of Defense’s 800,000 civilian employees around the globe.

Department of Defense civilian payroll for Mississippi last year totaled about $596 million and is expected to decline to about $546 million in fiscal 2013, according to figures released by the Pentagon and reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday.

The 2013 spending of $546 million does not include the more than $50 million of payroll loss this year expected from the furloughs.

Neighboring Alabama is projected to feel a much bigger payroll pinch from the furloughs, with the state losing $184 million out of a total fiscal 2013 Department of Defense civilian payroll of nearly $2 billion.

Automatic across-the-board budget cuts of $86 billion are to kick in March 1 unless Congress and the White House can come up with an alternative agreement. Congress and the president agreed to the so-called fiscal sequester as part of the August 2011 budget reconciliation deal to raise the federal debt ceiling.


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