Pharos-Tribune

Government shutdown

October 1, 2013

Furloughs, closures hit Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The partial shutdown of the federal government landed hundreds of Indiana-based Air Force reservists, civilian workers and national park employees on unpaid furlough Tuesday, causing some business owners in the most affected areas to brace for the worst.

Lt. Col. Gary Lockhard, a spokesman for Grissom Air Reserve Base, said about 600 fulltime civilian employees and reservists who work at the base 60 miles north of Indianapolis were furloughed Tuesday after Congress failed to break a budget impasse. A bare-bones staff of about 25 air traffic controllers and 50 base security staff will remain on duty, he said.

The affected reservists were on the job for about four hours Tuesday as they shuttered their work spaces, he said.

"For most of the individuals coming in today, there was kind of a disappointment that it got to this point, but they knew what steps would be taken if the budget wasn't passed," Lockhard said.

The Indiana National Guard, meanwhile, furloughed about 1,000 federal technicians who are civilian workers, said guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree. And during the budget impasse, the guard's 12,000 air and Army guard unit members won't report for duty and they won't be paid, she said.

Although those Guard members won't be paid, Gov. Mike Pence has directed that the state to continue paying for at least one week 244 guard staffers who are state employees and whose salaries are reimbursed by the federal government.

Pence's office said Indiana has enough money on hand to continue many of the largest joint federal-state programs like Medicaid and unemployment insurance through the shutdown.

Pence's spokeswoman, Christy Denault, said that through October, the state also will continue funding welfare benefits and a program that helps pregnant women, mothers and their children.

Depending on its length, the shutdown could have a significant economic impact on Grissom base area, including the cities of Peru and Kokomo, because people would have less disposable income to spend in shops and restaurants, said Jim Tidd, the head of the Miami County Economic Development Authority.

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