Local businesses ease furlough’s financial pinch

Eight local businesses have teamed with the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance to offer discounts on Fridays through the end of the fiscal year to the federal civilian employees who are currently being furloughed.

The furloughs were part of the Budget Control Act, which requires nearly every federal worker to take 11 days of unpaid leave from now until the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. Ultimately, it means a 20 percent cut in weekly pay for the next three months. Also known as sequestration, the act seeks to cut trillions from the federal budget during the next decade.

So local businesses – and the Business Alliance – sought ways to to ease the financial burden for families. The discounts range from free mortgage appraisals, which normally cost around $400, to 20 percent off the Holiday Inn Express near the Air Force Academy.

Restaurants got into the act as well: Jose Muldoons, with locations downtown and on Carefree Circle, offers furloughed workers 20 percent off food purchases. Downtown restaurant and bar Jack Quinn’s offers 15 percent off food purchases as well.

Federal workers need to show their federal identification, or CAC, card showing that they are a civilian employee with the Department of Defense, and ask for the discount.

The furloughs affect roughly 5,000 workers in the Colorado Springs area at the five military bases: Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy, Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

At the Academy, for instance, more than 1,400 workers are being furloughed. The exempt workers include a deployed civilian, five people who lost their homes in the Black Forest fire and 18 workers who work in child care or sexual assault response coordinators, who were exempt from furloughs by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

For a current list of businesses offering the discounts, click here.  Businesses interested in participating in the program, should email Brittany Harp at the Business Alliance at bharp@springsbusinessalliance.com.