Shutdown sends hundreds of state employees home without pay

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

The government shutdown entered its second day, with noagreement in sight from Washington.

As of Wednesday, Arkansas budget officials say the budgetimpasse 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 newsto people visiting the Federal Building in downtown Jonesboro. The guards theresaid they have turned away at least 10 people that needed to go to the localIRS and Labor Department offices, which have had no choice but to turn out thelights and send workers home.

The parking lot also sits empty at the U.S. Department ofAgriculture Service Center in Jonesboro. Any visitors there will find the doorslocked and signs posted, all saying the office will remain closed untilCongress restores funding.

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

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

Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican, was unavailable for aninterview Wednesday, but did release the following statement exclusively toRegion 8 News.

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

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

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