Military leaders and contractors say automatic federal spending cuts will have a snowball effect on Hawaii businesses and taxpayers.
Ben Nakaoka of Pacific Shipyard Industries told Hawaii lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday that Ship Maintenance, a military subcontractor, has already cut 60 percent of employees.
Charles Ota from the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce says Hawaii would be hit harder by defense cuts than any other U.S. state on a per capita basis.
Ota says the Army, Navy and Air Force plan to cut spending by $500 million this year in the Pacific region. Department of Defense workers could lose up to 20 percent of pay through furloughs.
Defense cuts are a big part of the $85 billion in total cuts. The military industry is worth $14.7 billion in Hawaii.