The recent news about cuts to federal agencies under sequestration (Feb. 27 Beacon: “Glacier Park’s Great Uncertainty”) has me worried. If these arbitrary cuts go through, there will be numerous impacts here in Montana, including Glacier National Park. If there’s a fall off in tourism due to delays in opening Going-to-the-Sun Road or reduced flights into Glacier Park International Airport due to layoffs in air traffic control workers, western Montana will suffer as a result.
These are just small local examples. Across the nation, communities will suffer if programs are reduced and federal workers are placed on furloughs. Campgrounds and buildings will not be open, trails will be not maintained, services that Americans are used to will not be there. Our armed forces will have to endure reductions in personnel, equipment and supplies and readiness will suffer. Reductions in air traffic control centers will reduce airline traffic.
I’m a retired U.S. Forest Service employee and am concerned with what might happen to my colleagues still in the federal workforce. I know they work hard and gain tremendous satisfaction from helping the public. They are also members of our community, who support local businesses.
Having worked in a federal agency I know they have to comply with reduced budgets, often well ahead of time as some programs take time to prepare and implement.
Our leaders in Congress need to find real solutions to address our nation’s fiscal problems, not just cuts that single out federal employees and hurt local communities as a result.
I know that Sens. Max Baucus, Jon Tester and Rep. Steve Daines understand the contributions of federal workers to our state’s communities. I urge them to lead their fellow members of Congress to find better, more effective solutions.
James B. Reid
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