Defense Spending

Military spending has made a major impact in our area during the past year, contributing millions to several local economies. The Department of Defense has just released its breakdown of where the money went.

It’s been extremely beneficial, helping pump more than $138 million into local economies last year alone. It’s money that local business managers say keeps them up and running.

The Department of Defense has released its breakdown of military spending county by county for the entire nation and the numbers show our area benefited to the tune of more than $138 million last year alone.

The biggest slice went to tiny Lanier Bounty, Georgia. Thanks to its location next to Moody Air Force Base, Lanier was able to bring in $49 million. Lowndes County came in second, brining in $45 million in military spending.

Bob Burns, Auto Repair Store Manager, says, "The core of my business is dealing with military related folks; 98 percent of my customers are either in the military or military related, without the base we basically wouldn't have a businesses."

The auto shops and other business in Lowndes County aren't the only ones cashing in. Leon County received more than $44 million from the U.S. military in fiscal 2003, helping stabilize the economy around Florida's capital, but the biggest direct impact of the military money may be for those businesses located near south Georgia's biggest base.

Sherri Ward-Starling, Garden Center manager, says, "I would guess 50 percent of business is military, and a lot of them live less than three miles from the base."

Store managers say all that military money helps keep this area's economy rolling, and even if military funding to our area remains the same, the economy could actually benefit once local troops get back on a normal deployment schedule, and are able to spend more time at home rather than overseas.

Georgia received more than $3.4 billion, while Florida brought in more than $8 billion last year.