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Wright-Patterson, other installations have $16 billion impact on Ohio's Dayton region

An Air Force C-130 Hercules flies over downtown Dayton, Ohio, Aug 18, 2018.

WESLEY FARNSWORTH/U.S. AIR FORCE

By KARA DRISCOLL | The Dayton Daily News | Published: February 14, 2019

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — A new study shows three area military installations that provide tens of thousands of jobs have a more than $16 billion economic impact on the Dayton region.

The analysis conducted for the Dayton Development Coalition by The Perduco Group found that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Springfield Air National Guard Base and the Dayton VA have a combined economic impact of $16.68 billion in the 14-counties surrounding Dayton.

“This analysis illustrates the importance of these national assets to the economic vitality of the Dayton region and why our congressional delegation, state and local leaders and the DDC continue to support and promote these installations,” said Maurice McDonald, DDC executive vice president of aerospace and defense.

The three entities generate more than 88,000 jobs with an estimated payroll of $5.87 billion, according to the report. The study considered how employees and contractors spend money generated from federal employment and contracts within the community and the jobs that spending creates.

Wright-Patterson has a total economic impact of $15.54 billion; Dayton VA has a total economic impact of $906 million; and Springfield Air National Guard Base has a total economic impact of $235.01 million.

McDonald told the Dayton Daily News that the analysis measured three financial aspects:

Direct impact: Jobs and payroll at Wright-Patt, Springfield Air National Guard Base and the Dayton VA

Indirect impact: Business to business transactions and employment resulting from direct impacts

Induced impact: Employee spending on personal goods and services and the jobs supporting consumer demand

McDonald said the coalition started working on the analysis in 2016, with the intent of capturing a clearer picture of the impact of Wright-Patt and other installations on the regional economy. Lawmakers and installation officials were enthusiastic about using the report to lobby for livelihood of regional installations, he said.

The economic analysis was conducted using the REMI software program, an economic model used by governmental entities nationwide. The coalition would not specify how much the study cost.

Previously, Air Force economic analysts said Wright-Patterson Air Force Base had an estimated $4.3 billion impact and employed about 27,552 workers in fiscal year 2014. The impact has not jumped to $15 billion — the new analysis measures the indirect and induced impact outside of the installations, McDonald said.

“It takes it a step further,” he said.

The base spurs revenue for top defense contractors in the region, which land millions of dollars in contracts annually. Some of the top defense contractors include Ball Aerospace, LION, UTC Aerospace Systems, Universal Technology Corp., MacAulay-Brown Inc., UES Inc., and GE Aviation Systems.

The economic impact of the base will likely only grow within the next five years. The Air Force last week selected Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as the “preferred location” for the F-35 Lightning II Hybrid Product Support Integrator organization, which supports the entire F-35 enterprise.

The move would bring at least 400 jobs to the base, but the potential impact to the region can’t be measured in base jobs alone. The coalition said it’s likely it would result in more growth for contractors and businesses — retailers, commercial builders, housing projects — in neighboring communities.

“This economic impact study proves the full value and importance of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as an anchor of economic and job growth in our community,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton.

The study gives lawmakers the ammunition it needs to back Wright-Patterson and other Ohio installations in the case of future federal consolidation or base cuts.

Other state organizations — including in North Carolina, Texas, Kansas and California — have measured the expansive economic impact of military installations in their communities. When lobbying for new missions or fighting to keep jobs in the region, they can point to tangible data.

“Ohio’s service members and civilians are the best at what they do and we are proud that their work has translated into new missions, jobs, and economic successes for the region,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Springfield Air National Guard Base and the Dayton VA play a critical role in the country’s national defense and caring for Ohio veterans. He said the state is putting a focus on strengthening its role as a leader in defense.

“This new study underscores just how important these federal installations are to boosting Miami Valley’s economy and driving economic growth in the region,” he said. “I will continue to look for ways to grow and develop additional defense jobs in Ohio.”

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©2019 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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