Beale's 940th delivers $41M impact
With cuts to defense spending looming in Washington, DC, a unit based at Beale Air Force Base has determined the unit's economic impact to the surrounding region.
The 940th Air Force Reserve Wing at Beale generated more than $41 million for the local economy during fiscal 2012, according to an economic impact statement compiled by wing officials.
Most of the amount, $27.8 million, came through payroll for 1,110 military and civilian jobs affiliated with the 940th. A boost in payroll spending over the last fiscal year increased the economic impact by more than $7 million over the 2011 fiscal year.
Of the remaining amount, $7.5 million was measured in 193 community jobs created by the unit, and $4.5 million went toward construction, services and equipment and supply purchases locally, according to the statement.
"The 940th Wing receives its funding from the Air Force Reserve command," said Michelle Ashton, a financial analyst officer with the unit. "That funding supports our reservists and our unique mission at Beale."
Dana Lineback, a spokeswoman for the 940th, said she would note the statement only takes into account the impact from that one unit and doesn't include others, such as the larger, more prominent 9th Reconnaissance Wing.
Yuba County officials have estimated the base's overall impact at about $700 million annually, and expectations for missions such as the MC-12 Liberty planes to expand in upcoming years will also require adding more base staff.
John Fleming, the county's economic development coordinator, said the local impact should probably be considered spread over as many as 10 counties around Beale, and many of the large contractors for construction, for example, probably come from the Sacramento area.
But a recent study determined up to 60 percent of all the subcontractors are local firms, Fleming added.
"I would say the biggest impact as far as Yuba County is concerned is from Beale retirees and their families who choose to stay here," Fleming said.
Next would be construction, and in recent years, demand for housing from Beale has probably helped new neighborhoods in Plumas Lake and Linda that would have otherwise suffered even worse from the housing bust, he said.
However, the looming "fiscal cliff" in the federal budget could mean cuts across the board to the military and domestic spending at the end of the year, under a process called sequestration.
While cuts Beale would face haven't been spelled out, a pro-defense spending group has estimated millions of cuts in local contracts if sequestration takes place.
Avoiding the cuts as laid out now would require a deal between President Barack Obama and Congress to reduce the nation's long-term debt through other means, such as a combination of reduced spending and increased tax revenues.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer