Florida’s National Guard sequestration furloughs began this week. The unpaid leave will be tough for National Guard families, but it could have a negative impact on the state as a whole.
Federal budget cuts will keep about a thousand of the Guard’s uniformed full-time servicemembers at home for the next 11 Mondays. Florida National Guard spokesman Ron Tittle said the average workday has been shortened, too.
“Our furloughed members would be off on a Monday – through September – and they have a shortened workday each week as well, so that’s a 20% cut in pay,” Tittle said.
The cuts come as tropical storm season hits Florida, but Tittle said the furloughs won’t stop guard members from filling sandbags, or cleaning up after storms which threaten the state.
“Bottom line is when the citizens of Florida need the National Guard to support our local and state emergency responders, we’re gonna be there. We’ll make a way, but we’ll have to scramble behind the scenes to make things work,” Tittle said.
But the furlough could slow response times in the event of an emergency. The individuals affected by the cuts represent nearly half the Guard’s full-time service members