Shumlin outlines shutdown's impacts - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Shumlin outlines shutdown's impacts

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Almost 450 Vermont National Guard members furloughed last week were called back to duty Monday.  Those returning are not sure when they will be reimbursed for the furlough.

"Believe it or not, the financial's of it are actually still a little fuzzy. We know we were all ordered to work today, so everyone has begun working again. When the paychecks are going to catch up, we are still waiting for information about that -- it's still a little fuzzy," said Vermont Air Guard Major Katherine Irish.

But the Vermont Guard is not out of the financial crisis when it  comes to the shutdown. "What it doesn't allow us to do with the continued shutdown is there is no money to do any of the training. We don't have any money to buy parts, we don't have any money to buy fuel, ammo or any of those things that we need to do to train to do our jobs," said Vermont National Guard
Major General Steve Cray. In fact, a monthly National Guard training weekend affecting 3,000 troops was canceled.

The Governor joined the Guard's Adjutant General to talk about the effects of the shutdown are having state wide --  and also something else. "How important it is to get the message to our friends in Congress -- lets get this over with fast because it's going to have a huge effect on the quality of life for hard working Vermonters, for job creation and for our military readiness," said Governor Peter Shumlin.

And because of those furloughs, the Vermont Department of Labor saw double the number of unemployment claims last week. "I think you are aware of the fact that many of the federal employees were calling. We saw 438 initial claims filed by federal employees and we also saw many more filed by smaller employers who do business with the federal government ," said Vt. Labor Secretary Annie Noonan.

Despite that, Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says Vermont is in good financial standing partly because the governor's office had all agencies and departments pull down as much federal money as they could be eligible for before the shutdown, to help cover expenses in the short term. "So we are in the situation at the state level where we can temporarily cover things like payroll and certain benefit programs that the federal funds are not available right now.  In the short run we can cover the benefit programs, so the state is in a good situation as an enterprise," Spaulding said.

Along with the precarious financial straits, Congressman Peter Welch says something else is at stake. "The other thing that has been put into jeopardy is the reputation of this government to  function efficiently on behalf of the American people and the thing I hear from Vermonters, more than anything else, is just absolute dismay that this is a manufactured crisis that we can solve if Mr. Boehner put the Senate bill on the floor for a vote," he said. Welch plans to return to Washington Monday night to continue to wait for a budget vote.

Jeb Spaulding says if the government shutdown lasts beyond mid October, there will be very serious problems for Vermont come November.

Attention is also turning to the deadline that's just 10 days away for extending the government's borrowing authority, by raising the debt limit.  If that does not happen, it could plunge the country into a recession much worse than the last one.

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