Shutdown sends hundreds of state employees home without pay - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Shutdown sends hundreds of state employees home without pay

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A closed sign still hangs on the federal government's door.

The government shutdown entered its second day, with no agreement in sight from Washington.

As of Wednesday, Arkansas budget officials say the budget impasse on Capitol Hill has left 685 federal workers furloughed in the state, including some employees in Jonesboro.

For the past two days, security guards have broken bad news to people visiting the Federal Building in downtown Jonesboro. The guards there said they have turned away at least 10 people that needed to go to the local IRS and Labor Department offices, which have had no choice but to turn out the lights and send workers home.

The parking lot also sits empty at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center in Jonesboro. Any visitors there will find the doors locked and signs posted, all saying the office will remain closed until Congress restores funding.

Furloughs have affected a few employees at the Department of Human Services in Jonesboro, too. According to a news release, the government shutdown also made the Arkansas National Guard furlough approximately 1,100 employees.  

Governor Mike Beebe said the state initially expected as many as 2,000 state employees to face furloughs if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement soon.

Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican, was unavailable for an interview Wednesday, but did release the following statement exclusively to Region 8 News.

The Congressman wrote, "I am continuing to pursue my strategy of passing short term government funding resolutions that would keep the government open but would also require Members of Congress who support ObamaCare to re-affirm their support for this massive, new entitlement program that would cost taxpayers $1.3 trillion in the middle of a debt crisis while Social Security and Medicare are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. I believe this strategy will bring to light the overwhelming price tag and the damage it will do to our economy."

Officials at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration warned Wednesday that the number of furloughed workers in the state may balloon if legislators cannot reach consensus soon.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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