Impending government shutdown projected to affect Utah

Sep 30, 2013

The looming government shutdown, a result of congressional deadlock concerning the passing of a spending bill, is projected to impact both national and state economies.

The U.S. Senate debates the proposed government spending bill Sept. 27.
Credit U.S. Senate

With the beginning of a new fiscal year, congress must pass a spending bill approving federal funding measures or face a partial government shutdown beginning October 1.  According to the U.S. constitution, if Congress can't agree on a spending bill, the government does not have the legal authority to spend money. The effects of a government shutdown are predicted to have significant national economic consequences if left unattended.

"It depends upon how long it lasts," said  Dr. Michael Lyons, a Political Science professor at Utah State University. "If it doesn't go on beyond this week, the impact will be minimal; vital services will continue and people will get their social security checks. If it goes on for any sustained period of time it's going to start to hurt the national economy at a time when the economy is still vulnerable."

It is projected that the looming shutdown will have a greater effect on Utah than on many other states.

"The national parks have already said that they will close and they are significant parts of the Utah economy," said Lyons. "There are definitely going to be effects on Utah and probably more serious effects on Utah than many other states because a significant part of our economy depends on the federal government directly or indirectly, especially this time of year."

It is feared that a government shutdown is a foreshadowing of events to come in mid-October when the congress must once again vote on a spending bill, this time concerning the raising of the debt-ceiling.

It has been 17 years since the last government shutdown because of failure to pass a spending bill.

Taylor Halversen is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts. She's from Sandy, Utah and is interested in discovering new and random things to try and attempting to live life wholly and healthily. She loves music and climbing anything from trees to mountains.