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Village of Highland Falls concerned about West Point funding cuts

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Albany/HV: Village of Highland Falls concerned about West Point funding cuts
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The forced spending cuts in Washington, D.C. could have a big impact on our area. YNN's Meredith Zaritheny spoke with people in the Village of Highland Falls, near West Point Academy, and has more on why the budget cuts have so many in that town concerned.

HIGHLAND FALLS, N.Y. -- The forced sequester spending cuts in Washington, D.C. could have a big impact on our area.

"West Point has a lot to do with the village here and the business in the village," said Janet Dutt, owner of Lily's of the Valley Floral Design.

The Village of Highland Falls sits just outside the gates of West Point Academy. To say the two are linked geographically isn't the painting the whole picture. The mom and pop shops that line Main Street rely on the business, the military academy brings in.

"We have a Main Street here that is totally dependent upon West Point, whether it’s the folks that live on West Point or it's the civilians the live here or come to work here at West Point. This sequester is definitely going to have an impact like never before on the local economy," said Joe D'Onofrio, Mayor of the Village of Highlands Falls.

The impact of these budget cuts is being felt far beyond West Point, to downtown Main Street in Highland Falls where business are concerned about the impact these cuts will have on business.

"They're local people, they're not just military people, so we're going to lose business because they're not getting paid they're not going to spend money on flowers. It's definitely going to impact us there's no doubt about it," said Dutt

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, says those cuts could extend beyond West Point as well.

"I think it's a terrible idea, it's going to mean $90 million less for West Point, it's going to mean 1,300 furloughs of people over there who are training protecting and equipping the next generation of military leaders, it's going to mean furloughs of Steward Air National Guard, it's going to mean the tower at Duchess County Airport is going to shutdown and planes are going to have to land and take off on their own," said Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

Shop owners are worried this might cause customers to cut back on their spending, ultimately hurting their bottom line.

"Yeah I'm worried about it, I mean, half of our business comes out of West Point," said Dutt.

YNN reached out to West Point, but they declined to comment on the specifics of the budget cuts, saying they haven't seen any hard numbers.

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