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When the Feds Shut Down, Problems Roll Downhill to State Governments Big Time

On Monday thousands of state workers across the country left work at the end of their workdays uncertain about the future of their jobs.  While members of both political parties continued the mudslinging over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, state run programs operating from federal funding sources suddenly found themselves in the middle of the heated battle.  As of a couple of days ago, most of our nation’s Governors were asking heads of state agencies to identify federally funded programs and positions that could be impacted, and the early news has been alarming.  In Connecticut, the Department of Social Services received $3.5 billion in federal reimbursements and more than $178 million in federal grant awards in 2013, according to state officials. These dollars are tied to between 600 and 6000 jobs in the state.  CT New Junkie.  The news in Iowa wasn’t much better where the hits were immediate.  Yesterday the Iowa Workforce Development Organization announced furloughs for 69 employees due to the federal government shutdown, and the Department of Public Defense will sideline another 111 workers.  Iowa Politics

As individual state agencies scramble to determine the precise moment when their federal funds will run out, most already know that state government budgets are in no shape to handle the shortfall.  So exactly which groups will be impacted most?  We know federal funding plays particularly big roles in state programs for agriculture, education, employment and human services to name a few.  This means many of those workers assisting grandmother in the nursing home may not be around much longer.  Nor will some of the educational enrichment workers supporting little Johnny.  Child welfare programs, including abuse/neglect investigations and case work will be heavily impacted too.

It’s a scary picture for sure, but there’s always a bright side, right?  Citizens of Minnesota were informed this week that in spite of 1,036 federal employees in military technician jobs being furloughed and notifications being prepared for another 274 state employees who work in other support positions,  troops remain ready for any job they’re needed. Major General Rick Nash, the state guard’s adjutant general told Minnesotans they should be rest assured the federal shutdown, “…will not impact our ability to respond to a manmade or a natural disaster.”  Capitol View  Whew General Nash.  I feel a lot better now.  Come on Capitol Hill.  Let’s get moving!

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