Effects of the government shutdown in the Central Valley

September 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
When federal government buildings and agencies open Tuesday, many of them will offer limited services.

The local IRS office is expected to furlough some of its employees. The IRS will also suspend all audits, taxpayer services and toll free help lines during the government shutdown.

The Social Security Office in the Fulton Mall will open Tuesday. However, they will not be able to issue new social security cards or a replacement cards.

At the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, active duty personnel will stay on duty but a spokeswoman for the base says nearly a thousand civilian employees will be furloughed.

"It will not be affecting our fire, police, air traffic controllers," Melinda Larson with the Naval Air Station said. "Military will continue to work. In a lot of ways, it will be business as usual."

However, non-essential personnel and services will be taking an extended leave.

"Our safety office won't be working for example, training, the commissary will close down," she said. "I'm not exempt, I'll be furlough," she added.

"We have instructions to report to work as usual (Tuesday) and take some time to conduct an orderly shutdown which means leaving correct phone messages on our machines and leave our out-of-office e-mail."

Larson said many of the employees are reeling from furloughs forced by Sequestration, so these furloughs will be extra hard. She hopes they will get back pay, but that issue is still up in the air.

The good news is that several services will continue through the shutdown. Homeland security employees like TSA will continue to work. U.S Citizenship and Immigration services will continue to process green cards and applications.

Mail will continue. And for the most part, so will Veteran's Affair's services. Social Security checks, as well as Medicare and Medicaid benefits will be delivered.

Officials at the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission say their services will continue as well. The Fresno EOC is a private, non-profit organization that gets 90 percent of its funding from the federal government.

Fresno EOC Chief Financial Officer Salam Nalia says they serve more than 175,000 low to middle-income people in Fresno County through 37 programs like WIC and Head Start.

"Even though the federal calendar year starts tomorrow, ours is more on a calendar year bases," Nalia said. "We're okay for the next two or three months."

But there could be problems down the road. If the government shut down continues for several weeks or months, they may not be able to accommodate future clients. Their current services may also start to feel the effects.

"If sanity prevails and the feds decide to stop this madness; hopefully, everything will go back to normal and we'll be okay," Nalia said.


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