Minnesota Hurting; but Faring Better Than Most During Federal Government Shutdown

ST. PAUL, MINN. – With many moving parts, the federal government shutdown can be confusing. Many Minnesotans have asked, “How does the government shutdown affect me and my family?” The answer is different depending on who asks it and which federally funded programs your family utilizes.

Governor Dayton’s chief of staff Tina Smith has said that federal funding plays a particularly big role in agriculture, education, employment and human services. The Minnesota Management and Budget Office reports that as many as 3,000 Minnesota state employees who are paid using federal dollars could be affected by the shutdown; and as funds dry up some of those workers have already received layoff notices.

Even if the furloughs or layoffs don’t affect you, many childcare and nutritional assistance programs that feed low-income families and their children are funded using federal dollars. If the shutdown continues children who are fed using WIC and SNAP dollars, and who attend Head Start programs will be significantly impacted.

Head Start is a federally funded educational program and will only be funded through the month of October. If the impasse in Washington continues, young families already stretched tight will lose this valuable resource. SNAP which offers nutritional assistance to millions of eligible, low income individuals and families will also be affected in a similar way.

Workforce Development Centers across the state are similarly idled by the shutdown. That means unemployed Minnesotans searching for work have access to fewer people offering help.

“The federal government shutdown is hurting everyone. It’s bad for our fragile economy, and has potentially devastating impacts on our slow recovery,” Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) said. “On a personal level, Minnesotans connect and rely on the Federal government in countless ways. I’m as frustrated by the dysfunction in Washington as anyone. It’s time for our national elected leaders to be statesmen and not politicians.”

While Minnesota is faring much better than states who rely more heavily on federal funding, some state workers are still going home without a paycheck while our federally elected officials fight it out in Washington. Many others are required to be at work, but are not getting paid.

Senator Roger Reinert
Roger Reinert represents District 7, which includes St. Louis County. He is also an educator.

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