Columbus, Phenix City leaders unite to stop sequestration - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus, Phenix City leaders unite to stop sequestration

COLUMBUS, GA/PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

The push to stop the Department of Defense's plan to cut thousands of military jobs, including some 3,400 soldiers on Fort Benning, brought out dozens on Monday, July 13.

Elected officials gathered with local military leaders Monday afternoon to discuss plans to fight sequestration.

The Mayors of Columbus and Phenix met with the President of TSYS and the Chamber of Commerce, among other community leaders. Everyone was united under the common goal: to stop sequestration. 

The focus of the meeting was the petition located online at www.GrowBenning.com. The website has become the center of the movement, containing information about the planned cuts and the petition which will be presented to congress to help fight against the cuts to Fort Benning.

It’s going to take a tremendous outcry of displeasure from both the Alabama and the Georgia residents to go forward to it’s elected officials and say this is not acceptable," said Gary Jones, vice president of military affairs for the Chamber. "During a time in our world that we see the threat increasing everyday… we see the army getting smaller."

Jones says the Army funding could be reduced by $500 billion next fiscal year and possibly eliminate 30,000 more jobs nationwide if sequestration is not stopped by October 1.

When it comes to this round of military cuts, Fort Benning is being hit the hardest in the nation losing 3,400 soldiers. Fort Hood, Texas follows right behind, losing more than 3,300 soldiers. 

These cuts are a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act which reduced the department of defense's funding by $487 billion. If cuts are made to Fort Benning the projected regional loss will amount to $229 million in sales loss and about a $198 million loss of buying power. 

“We have the best, state-of-the-art Military Base in the country," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. "It’s new, it has capacity, and there is no need to take billions of dollars, a little over $7 billion that was recently invested into For Benning and shutter it or to underoptimize it.”

Tomlinson stated in the meeting that instead of eliminating positions, the Army should consider relocating some of the less equipped to our state of the art Military Base.

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe encouraged residents on both sides of the river to work together to tackle this issue.

"What affects Columbus affects Phenix City and what affects Phenix City affects Columbus," Lowe said. 

Citizens and business owners have until October 1 to sign the petition but are urged to sign before the end of summer.

Visit this link to sign the petition online

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