How the shutdown is playing in the states

October 1, 2013
US National Park Service employees close the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall October 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. National Park Service employees close the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall Oct. 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of employees find themselves out of work this morning. Thousands more who depend on government services face the prospect of locked doors and empty coffers. Even disaster victims are being left behind as the House and Senate pass funding measures back and forth.

The outrage and frustration are playing out across newspaper front pages this morning. Here’s a taste of the impact the shutdown is having on the states:

As many as 40,000 Utahns who work for the federal government or government contractors will stay home from work today. That includes 215 state employees who oversee federal programs and 192 members of the Untah National Guard, according to Juliette Tennert, chief economist in Gov. Gary Herbert’s (R) Office of Management and Budget. If the shutdown lasts more than a week, the Women, Infants and Children program, which provides food stamps to about 66,000 state residents, will run out of reserve funding.

About 120 engineers attached to the Colorado National Guard working to repair flood damage to a highway through the Rocky Mountains could be told to head home today, according to the Denver Post. Another 700 guardsmen will be furloughed this morning. The repair work faces a critical deadline imposed not by Congress, but by weather: Colorado emergency planners are worried that an early snow could hamper repair efforts for months.

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Alaska, where one-third of all jobs are supported by federal dollars, will be particularly hard-hit. As many as 13,000 Alaskans would be furloughed, according to Sen. Mark Begich’s (D-Alaska) office. And Head Start centers that serve 1,761 Alaska children will close, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The Bureau of Land Management will stop processing applications to drill on federal land, which means drilling in national parkland on the Fort Berthold Reservation and in the Dakota Prairie National Grasslands will stop, according to the Fargo Forum.

Iowans who planned to spend a day fishing at federal reservoirs in Saylorville, Coralville, Red Rock and Lake Rathbun are out of luck, according to the Des Moines Register. The reservoirs are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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The 3,000 civilian employees at Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis are likely to be furloughed. About three-quarters of the 100 National Park Service employees who maintain St. Louis-area attractions like the Gateway Arch and the National Great Rivers Museum, in Alton, won’t be allowed to work. About 560 members of the Army Corps of Engineers in the St. Louis District will be furloughed too.

The Louisiana Agriculture Department will have to find temporary new digs. Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain told the Baton Rouge Advocate that the building his agency occupies in New Orleans is owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which plans to lock its doors during a shutdown. The USDA also told Genex Cooperative it wouldn’t process international health certificates, meaning the company won’t be able to send 5,000 doses of bull semen to a rancher in Argentina; that’s going to cost the company $300,000 to $400,000, the Advocate reported.

Hundreds of employees who work for the National Resources Conservation Service, which helps farmers in 75 Mississippi counties, will stay home. Half of the South Carolina National Guard’s 2,000 employees won’t be allowed to work; neither will many of the 11,000 contractors working to clean up the Savannah River Site nuclear waste facility, near Aiken. All of the 68,000 to 75,000 visitors expected at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, on the Tennessee-Kentucky border, will be turned away until the stalemate breaks.

Most of the 2,000 workers at the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution research center in Research Triangle Park, N.C., are locked out. North Carolinians involved in the tourism industry say the shutdown, which will close 70 miles of beach around Cape Hatteras, would be devastating. The 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway are also closed to visitors.

The shutdown comes at a terrible time for New England states. The onset of fall and the changing foliage brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to national parks in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire that will be forced to close. Acadia National Park in Maine, which typically gets 600,000 visitors in September and October, will be closed. Forty-one cruise ships scheduled to arrive in Bar Harbor, Maine, will have to find new ports if the government remains shut down. White Mountain National Forest, in New Hampshire, will also shutter.


As many as 1,200 employees who work for the Illinois government but are paid for by federal dollars could receive layoffs as early as Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported. Another 2,500 workers at Naval Station Great Lakes and 1,200 Illinois National Guardsmen will be sent home. Another 900 Michigan National Guard members will be furloughed, while training for an additional 12,000 troops would be delayed.

As many as 12,000 federal employees in Indiana, about half the federal workforce there, would be furloughed, the Indianapolis Star reported. So will 9,000 federal workers in Connecticut, according to the Hartford Courant. In the Washington region, at least one MARC commuter train will be canceled.

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Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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Reid Wilson · October 1, 2013