Budget cuts in defense spending could have major impact on Charlotte's economy

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

The budget calls for a $500 billion cut in defense spending over the next decade and another $500 billion in triggered cuts over time unless lawmakers in Washington make changes by January.

After digging into the numbers, this is a big deal for Charlotte's economy.

It is not just jets and bombs -- the chamber said four of the top ten defense contractors have facilities in Charlotte.

In 2010, Mecklenburg County secured 891 military contracts worth $250 million.

On Tuesday, Eyewitness News called dozens of local defense contractors, but the looming cuts are not something anyone was willing to talk about on camera.

Scott Dorney from the North Carolina Military Business Council did speak to us.

"It would definitely have an economic impact here in North Carolina," said Dorney.

Dorney said 87 out of North Carolina's 100 counties have jobs that rely on defense spending, in areas like construction, manufacturing and services.

"Training, landscaping, custodial and everything in between," said Dorney.

A recent study by George Mason University said a trillion-dollar cut would cost North Carolina 12,000 jobs, and some companies have already started.

Northrup Grumman, which has a plant in Charlotte, is reducing its workforce in other parts of the country and KDH Defense Systems in Eden, N.C., recently laid off 280 workers.

Defense companies know they will have to tighten their belts, but the question remains how much?

Dorney said half a billion dollars in reduced defense spending is something that the industry can absorb and expects really especially since the wars in the Middle East are winding down, but he said the extra $500 billion would be devastating to the defense industry.