Archive for Thursday, December 24, 2009

Military means big bucks to state

December 24, 2009


— Before there was a modern-day Kansas, the military was leaving its imprint on the economy of the region.

Like in the 1800s when the Army established posts on the prairies, the military depended on communities for supplies and support as it protected the nation. The communities needed posts for that steady and reliable source of income to generate economic development.

A new report released this month by the Governor’s Military Council shows that the state’s relationship with the military is critical to its economy, accounting for $7.7 billion of the gross state product. The report used data from 2006 that looked at salaries, contracts and retiree benefits.

Gov. Mark Parkinson said the report, compiled by Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research, shows that not only is the nation safer because of its military, but so is the state economy.

“This data strengthens our continuing effort to be the most military friendly state in America,” Parkinson said.

Kansas’ military history began with Col. Henry Leavenworth establishing an outpost on the Missouri River in 1827 as a jumping-off point for thousands heading to the American West.

Later came Fort Riley in 1854, established to protect the Santa Fe Trail and settlers in the Kansas Territory.

Both posts remain, and their missions are key to national security, training officers and preparing thousands of soldiers for Afghanistan and Iraq.

Add the National Guard, McConnell Air Force Base and other reserve units, and there are close to 40,000 military members in Kansas.

John Armbrust, executive director of the council, said the total impact could be as much as $10 billion or more when factoring in the contracts Kansas firms have with bases nationwide. He said the report showed the efforts by state and local leaders to partner with the military, take care of soldiers and families and create a welcoming environment were paying off.

But today’s military is leaner, and the Pentagon is looking for ways to use resources more efficiently. States can’t sit on their hands.

Kansas ranked 22nd in total active duty and reserve component members employed. California led the pack at more than 218,000 members, with New Hampshire bringing up the rear with 3,900. However, Kansas ranked fourth in military growth from 1997 to 2007, and was the fastest from 2006 to 2007 at 8.1 percent, due to the growth at Fort Riley.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

You can dress it up with all the patriotic window-dressing you want, but the military and its defense contractors are still by far the largest recipients of porkbarrel spending.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.