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Report: Fort Polk big business for area, state

Last Modified: Thursday, September 12, 2013 8:30 PM

By Lauren Manary / American Press

A recent review of military spending in Louisiana shows that Department of Defense spending in the state is heaviest at Fort Polk, a community group said Wednesday.

The group, Fort Polk Progress, said the Louisiana Military Advisory Council, part of the state Department of Economic Development, reviewed military-related job and spending data Monday.

The group said the data show that Fort Polk, which recently evaded Defense Department cuts, has a greater economic in the Louisiana than the state’s other military posts.

The spending review has not been released to the public.

“It’s good news from our perspective,” said Leesville Mayor Robert Rose. “It confirms what we already knew. And the good news is, it confirms for the state what an economic engine Fort Polk is for Leesville and Vernon Parish.”

Rose said that had the base suffered the direst cutbacks — a 5,300-soldier population decline — Leesville could have seen as much as 30 percent of its workforce laid off due to reduced revenue.

“Louisiana is home to seven major military facilities and activities,” reads a news release issued by Fort Polk Progress.

“Aside from Fort Polk, Barksdale Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) in New Orleans are two of the top military contributors to the state’s economy. Fort Polk, however, outpaces both Barksdale and NAS JRB by millions of dollars in total spending and by thousands of jobs.”

The group says the post “directly contributes over 16,000 jobs and nearly $600 million in payroll to the state’s economy. Estimated total spending at Fort Polk exceeded $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2012.”

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