The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

September 30, 2013

Shutdown would affect government workers, services

(Continued)

Most visitors came to see fall foliage in the first half of October, Galonska said.

A federal government shutdown also affects taxpayer access to important government offices, including the Internal Revenue Service. Although people will still have to pay taxes, those with questions will not be able to call the IRS for answers.

Similarly, anyone who needs a new passport or has to apply for a travel visa will have to wait.

Those who need replacement Social Security cards also will be out of luck.

For many people, such inconveniences might seem trivial — at least in the short term. But the U.S. economy could suffer from a prolonged government shutdown, said Chris Farrell, economics editor for Marketplace Money, a national program produced by American Public Media.

A shutdown poses serious questions for Washington during a weak and disappointing economic recovery, Farrell said. "Who isn't being hired because business is unsure about what's going to happen? What capital projects aren't being invested in because of this rising uncertainty?

"It just simply adds to the momentum toward a weak recovery," he said.

Many people are angry that the federal government has become so dysfunctional.

That's how Marilyn Chesnik and Jerry Dorff feel. They own and operate Wild River Outfitters along the St. Croix River in Grantsburg, Wis., and worry that a shutdown would hurt business. They also fear that, without federal workers, the riverway would not be properly maintained.

"I'm furious that these outfits that we elect cannot come together and be reasonable," Chesnik said.

Dorff agreed. "It's unbelievable. This is just another example, another situation where our federal government — the Congress and Senate — are not able to do the people's business, and that's not only irritating, I'm just kind of outraged — kind of really mad at them for not taking care of their job."

Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard in Mankato on 90.5 FM or at MPRnews.org.

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