State: Shutdown could force layoffs, program cuts

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

LANSING, Mich. State workers whose jobs depend on money from Washington could be furloughed if the partial federal government shutdown persists, according to a Michigan budget office spokesman.

About 15,000 to 20,000 jobs are at risk if the shutdown rolls into November, Kurt Weiss told The Detroit News and MLive.com for stories Wednesday.

Programs that depend on federal funds would also be affected. Unemployment benefits could be eliminated, and the state also would be hard-pressed to subsidize federal programs that help low-income families pay bills and feed children.

"The state really can't afford to be in the business of replacing the federal programs that are so big and so costly," Weiss said. "The state really doesn't have the reserves to keep them going much longer."

About $20 billion of the state's budget, more than 40 percent, is federally funded.

The shutdown began Oct. 1 after President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats rejected Republican demands to defund the new health care law.

"Each day that goes by, it's getting more and more serious," Weiss told The Detroit News.

State officials already have told workers they may get furloughed.

Unemployment requests have gone up as furloughed federal workers seek help, Weiss added.

Michigan residents who receive some type of assistance paid for by the federal government also would be notified around Oct. 20 that those programs may be interrupted because the state may not be able to subsidize them heading into November.

Some of those programs help low-income families pay bills, buy infant formula and feed children.

Food assistance for 1.6 million families in Michigan costs about $250 million each month.

The Women, Infants, and Children supplemental nutrition program already is funded for the next four to five weeks. Medicaid funds for the first quarter of the current fiscal year are included in the previous year's federal appropriation, according to MLive.com.


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