HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Governments in Beaufort County are putting tens of thousands of dollars into an effort to keep local military bases open.
The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports that Beaufort County is donating $250,000 and another $20,000 was added Tuesday by Hilton Head. The local chamber of commerce’s military enhancement committee is also asking for funds from Bluffton, Port Royal and Beaufort.
Officials say proposed budget cuts would devastate the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station and the Beaufort Naval Hospital.
A study by researchers at Coastal Carolina University in Conway shows the bases have an estimated annual economic impact of $1.2 billion. The bases employ more than 8,700 military and civilians personnel and contractors.
Last month, staffers representing several South Carolina congressmen and senators toured the bases so their best points can be noted as the area prepares to defend its bases. Staffers on that tour work with Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, and Reps. Tim Scott, James Clyburn, Trey Goody and Mick Mulvane.
The potential military cuts are expected in January as part of an effort to trim $1 trillion from defense spending during the coming decade.
Graham has warned that such cuts could hurt national security.
If the cuts happen, he has said, the nation would have its smallest ground force since 1940, its smallest number of ships since before World War I and its smallest Air Force in history.