Federal employee furloughs would affect airport security screenings, Phillips said.
Duluth International Airport
At the Duluth airport, officials are planning for the worst-case scenario if the automatic spending cuts occur: The air traffic control tower could close nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
That's because the Duluth International Airport is on the list of 72 airports that could see the elimination of overnight shifts of air traffic controllers due to employee furloughs to deal with the cuts, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website. The FAA operates the towers.
For Duluth, that means two regularly scheduled flights -- the last one at night and the first one in the morning -- will be arriving or leaving when the tower is closed.
"The flights wouldn't be altered but continue as scheduled," said Thomas Werner, the Duluth Airport Authority's executive director. "It can be done safely. Airports all over the country already close during overnight hours."
Some continue to operate at night, with procedures that give pilots the ability to turn on the runway lights and use other navigational aids normally provided by air traffic controllers, Werner said.
"We're confident we can make it work," he said. "But we'd have to invest in the infrastructure to do it. It's not cheap."
Airports affected will have another month to establish alternate overnight systems, since tower closings wouldn't occur until April 1, according to the FAA.
The Duluth International Airport is the only Minnesota airport on the FAA list of airports that could be affected.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
The band's resource management department and Head Start program probably will be most affected by Friday's cuts, said Karen Diver, its chairwoman.
The number of available Head Start slots probably will be reduced from 200 to 165. And because of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cuts, the band's resource management department will get less technical assistance, guidance and money. The department deals with air and water quality, particularly for mining, habitat restoration and animal research.
Less money could be dealt with in one of two ways, Diver said: across-the-board cuts or targeted cuts to programs, meaning entire grant programs could go away.
On the other end, much like the retail sector that relies on consumer confidence, the band relies on earned income at its casinos and supporting businesses. And financial crisis rhetoric encourages people to hold off on entertainment spending, Diver said.
"Those are the first dollars people start to not spend when they feel economically unsafe," she said.
Duluth school district
The Duluth school district will be forced to deal with nearly $500,000 in federal program cuts. Its Title I, special education and Head Start funds will bear the brunt, with Indian Education and other smaller federal programs also getting reductions. Business services director Bill Hanson said the Minnesota Department of Education probably will give school districts some direction as federal money is processed through that agency.
He anticipates 30 percent, or about $150,000, must come from Title 1; 40 percent, or $200,000, from special education; and 15 percent, or $75,000, from Head Start. Laura MacArthur Elementary's school improvement grant -- received to improve test scores and narrow the school's achievement gap -- also could be affected, Hanson said.
The district plans to meet with program managers and talk about what can be cut in ways that will affect students the least, and then meet with union leaders to come up with plans and a timeline. Jobs, supplies and contracts that supply services all could be affected, Hanson said.
St. Luke's hospital will lose about $2.5 million in Medicare funding over the course of a year, said John Strange, the hospital's CEO. Between 60 percent and 70 percent of the hospital's patients are covered either by Medicare or Medicaid, he added.
There also will be an indirect impact as social programs are cut, Strange said, because hospital emergency rooms serve as a safety net for people with mental and physical health issues who can't get help elsewhere.
Sequestration, set to kick in Friday, will cut $600 million from the Federal Aviation Administration's operations
According to the Associated Press, automatic federal budget cuts could shut down control towers at as many as seven Mississippi airports.
Duluth International Airport wants $3.2 million in bond funding from the Minnesota Legislature to keep two major projects on track.
Airports in hundreds of small and medium-sized towns in rural America would be disproportionately hit if the funds are cut.