By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
HARRISBURG – The federal government may not open for business Tuesday, but Pennsylvania’s state government won’t immediately feel much of an impact.
“In the short-term, it is business as usual,” said Jay Pagni, spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget office.
Pagni said departments and agencies receiving federal grants were preparing contingency plans, but since the potential shutdown was coming at the very beginning of the federal fiscal year – which starts Oct. 1 – money would probably be available to carry over from the previous year. That should be enough to keep things running for at least a little while.
According to the Budget Office, Pennsylvania expects to receive $21.7 billion in federal funds during the 2013-14 year, accounting for about one-third of all state spending.
“From a short-term perspective, the governor has directed all agencies that do receive federal funds that business will continue and services will continue to be provided in the short-term,” Pagni said. “We’re closely monitoring what is happening in Washington and eagerly waiting to see what resolution will come about.”
Unless Congress can agree to a new budget or a continuation of the current budget before midnight Monday, the federal government will shut down.
The shutdown will not affect entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Unemployment compensation programs and welfare programs such as WIC will continue paying benefits, as well.
But the shutdown would potentially put 71,000 federal employees living in Pennsylvania out of work, according to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who held an afternoon conference call with reporters. Casey warned that programs designed to aid small businesses could also be affected by a shutdown.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said over the weekend he was “hopeful” the shutdown could be avoided.
Boehm is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Eric@PAIndependent.com
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