Some 35,000 state workers in Michigan received temporary layoff notices on Friday. The notices tell them not to come into work on Monday, October 1st.
Plans call for another 17,000 or so worker to remain on the job. Some will work Michigan’s prisons and state hospitals, while others are law enforcement officers who will patrol the streets.
One local lawmaker called it a game of “chicken” and it remains to be seen which will come first: agreement on a new state budget, or the shutdown of Michigan’s government.
In Niles, some were taking the threat seriously Friday. They rushed to the Secretary of State’s office to renew their license plates.
“Because they’re going to shut down the Secretary of State’s branches, I decided to come down and renew my registration,” said Mendriad Mchopa of Niles.
Lee Andrews of Berrien Center was also at the branch, although he thought the threat of a shutdown was a “smokescreen.”
In a telephone interview from Lansing, Republican Representative Neal Nitz told Newscenter 16 that personally, he would be “surprised” if a shutdown occurs.
Nitz feels that Michigan simply can’t afford to lose money from the state lottery, and other sources.
“Right now, I think it’s just staging between Republicans and Democrats,” said Nitz. “It’s a big game of chicken really, is what it is, to see who is going to blink first.”
The Governor’s office issued a list of services that would disappear during a shut down.
For instance, the state would stop selling lottery tickets or redeeming winning tickets, although daily drawings would continue due to the pre-sale of tickets.
Anyone with camping reservations at a state park would get a refund instead of a relaxing weekend. All state parks would be closed.
An attempt to close three state licensed casinos in Detroit in the event of a government shut down was blocked today by the courts.
The casinos sued the state and won the right to stay open.