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Federal shutdown’s effect on Southern AZ

Local governments preparing for impact
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 21:08:23-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - The partial government shutdown is challenge number one for new members of Congress --but are the effects of the shutdown -- beginning to ripple out beyond federal workers and affecting more people in Southern Arizona?

SNAP is the name of the program many people still think of as food stamps. The program to help low income people pay for their food has enough funding to carry through the end of this month. WIC, the food program for low income women and children also has money to carry through January.

If the shutdown lasts past that point, local organizations like the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are bracing for an increase of demand.

Furloughed Federal workers strapped for cash may check with the State of Arizona for unemployment benefits but if Congress does what's it's done in the past and pays them retroactively once the shutdown is over they'll probably have to repay any benefits they got.

The shutdown could be bad news if you're hoping for a quick income tax refund. The IRS says even with the shutdown you still need to pay your taxes, but if the government owes you a refund you will wait for your money until the shutdown is over and workers are back on the job to process the refunds.

The Primavera Foundation says it gets about half of its budget in Federal Funds. It says the shutdown makes it harder for its clients to apply for disability benefits or buy homes with Federal loan assistance.

The City of Tucson uses Federal housing funds to help low income families pay for a place to live. The city says it has enough money on hand to pay for the program for the next couple of months but city workers have been having trouble reaching Federal workers when they have any problems to iron out.

Pima County says about $60 Million dollars in Federal funding helps pay for county services like health, transportation and flood control. The County says it can cover expenses from county general funds for a few weeks but if the shutdown persists it could need to cut back some county operations.