A government shutdown could take effect today at midnight, and Californians are worrying about how they could be affected.
The good news is that unless you are a federal government employee, in the military, or a tourist in a federal park, your day-to-day life will remain relatively unaffected in the short term. The Sacramento Bee reports that water will continue to flow and social security checks will continue to arrive.
The bad news is that a prolonged shutdown could have a deleterious effect on California’s overall economy. Federal employees who aren’t classified as “critical to protecting life or property” will be furloughed, which means a slowdown in federally-funded government programs that affect “areas from higher education to law enforcement,” according to NBC LA. And while the IRS will continue to process tax returns, refund payments will be delayed until the bureau gains back its furloughed employees. Finally, tourists and visitors to California’s federal parks would have to be escorted off the grounds. NBC LA reports that this “could hurt tourism, and by extension the state’s economy. California’s national parks had nearly 35 million visitors in 2010; the estimated economic impact to the state from the parks is more than $1 billion.” The City Maven quotes Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who said Los Angeles stands to lose $560 million during the potential shutdown, adding that ““It’s outrageous… Look, these people are bringing us to the brink of disaster and it’s a perfect example of why people are so turned off by the partisanship you see in D.C.”
Undoubtedly, one of the more tragic consequences of the potential shutdown are the members of the military and their families who will stop receiving their paychecks–even if they are deployed overseas. Tthough they would continue to earn money, it would take an act of Congress for them to actually receive their salaries. The LA Times reports that military families are bracing for the impact by checking up on their savings hunkering down when it comes to spending. The LA Times quotes one young military couple:
Sgt. Joshua Gilbert, 25, also with a wife and three children, said that he too would be able to get through a financial squeeze.
“But I’ll bet 90% of the privates and corporals are going to be in trouble,” Gilbert said. “The young guys tend to get paid, spend it all and then wait for the next paycheck.”
*This article has been edited to reflect that federal parks, not state parks, will be affected by the government shutdown.