Kelly James

My High Plains

AMARILLO — One of Amarillo’s largest employers would be affected if automatic budget cuts go into effect in January.

Bell Helicopter’s Chief Executive, John Garrison,  said if congress doesn’t act the defense budget cuts would be devastating for contractors.

Garrison was speaking at the Aviation and Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Summit in Ft. Worth.

Garrison told the crowd the initial impact would be small for Bell.

The automatic cuts were built into last year’s debt ceiling negotiations.

It calls for spending cuts across the board, including defense.

But, Garrison says the cuts, known as budget sequestration, would be small for Bell in the beginning because they have contracts and funding for military helicopters and V22 ospreys through 2015.

According to the Center for Security Policy”.  Contracts would be cut by 18%, totalling nearly $7 billion statewide.

Garrison told the summit the only guidance contractors have gotten from the government is from defense secretary Leon Panetta.

He says Panetta has stated the sequestration will never happen.

The sequestration deal is part of last year’s Budget Control Act of 2011 which mandates $1 trillion in spending cuts across the board, except in entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.


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