Businesses in military towns brace for budget hit

March 9, 2013 • Business

In this Monday, March 4, 2013 photo taken in Fayetteville, N.C., Tom Raper, owner of Bragg Pawn Shop, talks about small business near Fort Bragg military base. His pawn shop is located on Yadkin Road near a main entrance to the base. More than 8,500 civilian employees on the base will be furloughed one day a week starting in late April, the equivalent of a 20-percent pay cut, possibly affecting small businesses near the base. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Like many who make their living in the commercial strip outside the gates of Fort Bragg, Mike Thomas is confident the $85 billion in automatic military spending cuts will hurt sales at his used car lot and rim shop.

The vast majority of his customers work on the base, and smaller paychecks means less money for the four-wheel drive Jeeps, chrome wheels and window-rattling sound systems that are his specialty.

While it remains too soon to measure the exact impact for small businesses that thrive on the civilians employed at the nation’s largest military posts, owners already are bracing for the damage. Pentagon officials say the automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 will result in one-day-a-week furloughs for 800,000 civilian employees across the U.S. starting next month, resulting in a 20 percent cut to their paychecks. Soldiers’ salaries are exempt Login to read more

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