SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) - The federal spending cuts have only been law for three days and already their effects are being felt in Arkansas. Some military families here in Arkansas are preparing for up to a 20 percent cut in their incomes.
Sharon Branch and her husband Joe have lived all over the country. Joe, serving first in the Navy, is now a Army reservist and civilian employee for the 90th Sustainment Brigade. And, while Sharon said it is an honor for her family to serve the military, with the recent federal spending cuts, it will become a challenge.
"He was given this flag in recognition of his service in Iraq," said Sharon Branch, showing her husband Joe's American flag displayed in her family's living room.
It is a symbol of her family's sacrifice, Sharon Branch said, her husband's first tour in Iraq. But now, a new sacrifice has her worried.
"When you're considering a 20 percent pay cut out of the primary bread winner's income, you start really wondering, 'How are we going to save money?'" said Branch.
Joe, a property book officer for the 90th sustainment brigade is being furloughed, forced to take an extra day off without pay every week for the next 22 weeks. For the Branches, that means no vacations, no summer landscaping and a lot of penny pinching. A tough blow, Sharon said, to a family who has already given so much.
"Sacrifice for the country is something that we are willing to do when we go to serve in the military but asking the military to take 20 perent of their pay and give it back. It makes you wonder is there not another way?" said Branch.
But, the Branches aren't the only ones.
"The most immediate impact that we are facing is the potential furlough of our technicians," said Major Chris Heathscott with the Arkansas Army National Guard.
He said Camp Robinson along with bases across the state could see the same impact.
"One additional non-paid off day per week through September 30th, and if this is indeed implanted, it will take place sometime in late April," said Major Heathscott.
Sharon Branch said her son is on his eighth year serving in the Navy and is currently based in California. He's willing to re-enlist but because of the federal cuts, the Navy will not let him.
The Arkansas Army National Guard said it is still unclear what all will be affected by the cuts but unless something changes, furloughs will begin at the end of April.