Some local leaders fear South Carolina’s “red state” status could make it vulnerable to military base closures next year.
The Charleston County Aviation Authority held a special meeting today to discuss U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s warnings about dire consequences for Charleston’s military presence if mandatory federal budget cuts go through next year.
On Tuesday, Graham predicted hits to the Air Force Base and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SPAWAR) if $1.2 trillion in cuts go through in the next 10 years.
The Aviation Authority decided to create a proclamation of support for Graham, which it would sign along with Charleston County Council and the mayors of Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant.
The federal cuts would come in the wake of the failure of Congress’s so-called “supercommittee” to enact bipartisan reductions. The resulting 2011 Budget Control Act created “sequestration provisions,” or triggered across-the-board cuts in domestic and military spending.
“We’ve had our cuts,” said state Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston and chairman of the Aviation Authority board, referring to the 1996 closure of the Charleston Naval Base.
Charleston County Council chairman Teddie Pryor, who is a member of the group’s board, said he thinks decisions on which bases are closed can be politically motivated. And he’s afraid that in the current political climate in Washington, D.C., a “red state” like South Carolina might not fare well.
“We need to let our elected (national) officials know that we don’t want these. It will devastate us,” Pryor said.
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.