Wisconsin Companies Will Feel Effects Of Federal Sequester


While federal agencies will be directly hit if automatic spending cuts go into effect Friday, the impact will also be felt by the Wisconsin companies that work with them.

In 2011, about 3,000 Wisconsin businesses received $7 billion in federal contracts. That’s according to Wisconsin Procurement Institute board chair John Rogers. It’s a nonprofit organization that helps businesses secure federal contracts to sell anything from toilet paper to ships.

Rogers says all businesses will feel the effects of sequestration, but large companies will be able to adapt to the changes more easily. “The small businesses are the ones personally I worry about. Those are the companies – if they’re heavily working with the Department of Defense, for example – those are the companies that this could really harm.”

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Andrew Bergholz is with Tapco, a Brown Deer-based business that makes traffic and parking signs and equipment. He says their company is used to the ebb and flow of all government contracts. Bergholz says federal contracts are a significant part of their business, so if they lose them, the company will have to try new things to make up for lost business. “I worry about the things that I can control. Obviously if there is a big cut in federal spending, our way in our company is, we try to be innovative in what we do, to be diverse in the product offering we do have.”

An Oshkosh Corporation spokesman says the heavy-duty truck manufacturer won’t be impacted in the short term. The company that makes defense vehicles has already seen funding reductions with the troop drawdown in Afghanistan.