Budget cuts put 4,000 Alabama Guardsmen at risk

Budget cuts put 4,000 Alabama Guardsmen at risk


Budget cuts could force the shutdown of armories across the state of Alabama, which could mean longer response times during emergencies. 

Those budget cuts could force 4,000 Guardsmen out of Alabama, to work in another state. 

MORE: Budget passes house; on way to Senate

The Alabama National Guard is the second-largest employer in the state, with an economic impact of $1.2 billion. 

For every $1 the state spends on the guard, the federal government spends $7... bringing in a lot of money to the state.

Currently, there are 83 guard armories in the state. If 25 of those armories shut down, Guardsmen will be forced to drive hours to train elsewhere.

A representative with the Alabama National Guard says having fewer armories will make it tougher to serve the state. 

"We'd like to keep Alabama National Guardsmen in state-of-the-art facilities to train, to be ready to answer the president or the governor's call," said Major Andrew Richardson. "We're the ones there to help you; we are the ones in the uniforms that bring the calm, that bring the help, and we do it because we love Alabama and we love Alabamians."

Richardson said, should cuts go into effect, soldiers might have to be consolidated into tighter quarters, which might make proper training more difficult.

Alabama House Representative Mike Ball said on Sunday that legislators are still a long way from passing a general budget.

The legislative session is supposed to end June 15. If legislators still haven't passed the budget by then, they'll go into special session, ultimately costing taxpayers more money.

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