(10/10/13) - Many local people continue to watch and wonder how the
government shutdown could affect them.
It turns out Halloween could be a scary day across the state if the government is still shut down.
Michigan gets 40 percent of its budget from the federal government. Most departments have received that money through October.
If November comes and the federal government is still shut down, that funding won't come in - and that means 15,000-20,000 state workers could be affected.
All those people could technically get laid off. More likely, we'll see furloughs. That means those Michiganians won't go to work and won't get paid until the federal government is back up and running.
Kurt Weiss, with the State Budget Office, told us state officials are busy figuring out who those people might be.
"It's actually people across the state," he said. "Whether its case workers at the department of human services or engineers and scientists at MDOT or folks in our shop here who do the unemployment numbers, it really ranges across the state. We'll know by the middle of next week what our next steps will be should be, should this continue," Weiss said.
That's just the workers. Weiss also tells us programs like food stamps, unemployment insurance and WIC won't be funded past the end of October and people receiving those benefits would be cut off sometime in November. School lunch assistance could also be affected.
"There's actually a number of programs, whether it be food assistance - people call it food stamps - or cash assistance, which is referred to an TANIS, unemployment, WIC, all these federally funded programs are at risk as we get closer to Nov. 1," Weiss said.
Weiss says the state simply doesn't have the money to support many important
programs without the federal government's help. In Michigan, 1.6 million people
get food stamps.
"You know, for food stamps alone it's $240 million a month for that program, and the state just doesn't have the reserves to keep those programs going. We would have to start sending notices to recipients to let them know that we'd have to cut them off," he said.
John Manse, with Catholic Charities, says that puts more pressure on the North End Soup Kitchen and places like it.
"You know we rely on government assistance to help our clients to get through the month," he said. "When they get their food stamps, their WIC, their government assistance, we tend to slow down a bit, we get a break. But the last two weeks, toward the end of the month, we're swamped. We get a lot of people."
Manse says his kitchen feeds about 400 people a day at the beginning of each month and about 700 later in each month. If you take away food stamps and government assistance, that could jump to close to 1,000.
But, he says they won't send anybody away hungry.
"Our staff, our volunteers, we're gearing up for those situations. We may not have as much food for everybody, but we're going to try to feed everybody. We're not going to have anybody go without a meal," he said.
A couple other things people won't have to go without are social security and Medicare. Reps say they will remain funded for a while.
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