MILWAUKEE (AP) — Federal spending in Wisconsin fell more than 50 percent this year, mainly because the U.S. has been awarding fewer defense contracts as it winds down the war in Afghanistan, according to a recent report.
For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, federal contract awards in Wisconsin totaled $3.4 billion, down from $7.2 billion in the previous fiscal year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The figures were compiled by the Wisconsin Procurement Institute, a Milwaukee-based organization that helps businesses get federal contracts. The numbers may be revised upward in coming weeks because of routine delays in federal reporting of contract awards.
The biggest cut has come from U.S. Army spending, which is down more than 75 percent in Wisconsin. More cuts are possible as Congress looks for ways to trim the budget.
Oshkosh Corp., one of the world's largest makers of military vehicles, accounts for a large portion of federal contract dollars awarded in Wisconsin, and its defense business is vulnerable to any cuts. The company has already announced plans to lay off 450 production workers next month.
Navy spending in Wisconsin also is down 33 percent, from $603.8 million last year to $405.3 million in the preliminary numbers this year.
The Navy figures don't include billion-dollar contracts for Marinette Marine Corp. to build Navy combat ships in Marinette. That's because the contracts are officially with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Bethesda, Md., and Marinette is the subcontractor.
David King, a military procurement expert and business professor at Marquette University, said the ships under construction now in Marinette are probably safe from immediate budget cuts. But he added that the work that hasn't started yet and contract extensions could be at risk.
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