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MS National Guard would feel cuts from sequester

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As the clock ticks down to potentially billions of dollars being slashed from the federal budget, Mississippi's front line of defense will also be at the front of the line for cuts.

"I'm more concerned about he civilians," said Maj. Gen. Augustus Leon Collins, Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard.

Collins is paying close attention to the looming automatic spending cuts known as the sequestration. While he hopes it'll be avoided, preliminary plans are being made should the cuts happen.

If they do the state's national guard force may have to periodically do without some of it's workforce.

"Military pay accounts are not going to be affected by sequestration but it's our department of army civilians that work for us. We're more concerned with them," said Collins.

About 1,400 technicians would fall into that category alone. At this point any cuts and furloughs of those workers are just a possibility. essential employees, based on missions, would be exempted.

Even so, for American Legion national commander, Jim Koutz, it's enough to cause concern and devastation.

"We've been worrying about this for a year and a half. It's time to get the budget passed," said Koutz.

With those cuts set to also have an impact on the department of defense, Governor Phil Bryant says the biggest issue with the sequester isn't looming cuts, but rather political games being played inside The White House and the U.S. Capitol. In traditional political fashion, Bryant feels some deal will be reached before the Thursday night deadline.

"I think the president will come to the realization that those type of draconian cuts do not need to be made," said Bryant.

Any negotiations in Washington to avoid the sequester aren't slated to happen until Friday which is after the deadline. These cuts wouldn't happen all at once, but rather over the course of several years.

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