Top 5 Ways the Tea Party’s Government Shutdown Will Damage States, Local Communities

In separate appearances this morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that they once again had failed to reach an agreement to fund the government. Just hours away from a federal government shutdown, Tea Party House members continue to insist that any funding agreement include a policy rider that drastically cuts money for women’s health.

The increasingly likely shutdown won’t just hurt military families, low-income students and the economic recovery: it would also deny state and local governments across the country critical funding for infrastructure, charities, and national parks — prompting job losses and deeper state budget shortfalls. Below ThinkProgress examines the top five ways a government shutdown would hurt states and local communities across the nation:

1. NO FEDERAL FUNDS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: States and cities would lose federal funds for contractors — forcing them to halt basic road, bridge and sewer repairs, grants to local firefighters, low-income housing construction and asbestos elimination projects.

2. EXACERBATING THE STATE BUDGET CRISIS: Already cash-strapped state governments would lose federal funds that help pay for the administrative costs of running their unemployment insurance programs. States would be forced to advance the money to keep paying unemployment insurance benefits.

3. NO MONEY FOR CHARITIES: Depending on how long a shutdown lasts, cities across the nation could lose funding that goes to charities that provide critical services for the poor like the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club, NeighborWorks and the Visiting Nurse Association.

4. FURLOUGHS — AND JOB LOSSES — ACROSS THE COUNTRY: A shutdown would furlough more than 800,000 non-essential federal workers across the nation. For some of those workers, especially the thousands of civilian working at military bases, those furloughs could eventually lead to job loss. After 9/11, the military, along with other federal agencies, required security clearance for civilian workers. Workers who fall into financial trouble from losing their paycheck during the shutdown could have their security clearance revoked. In New Hampshire for example, more than 6,000 workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard who live paycheck-to-paycheck could be furloughed and at risk of losing their jobs.

5. CLOSING NATIONAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS: National parks and monuments across the nation would be forced to close indefinitely during a shutdown. Not only would thousands of Park Service rangers be furloughed, but local businesses who depend on tourism will lose the more than $32 million tourists spend everyday in communities just outside the parks — and state and local governments would lose local tax revenues that tourism generates.

Kevin Donohoe