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
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
“Folks just can’t buy like they would normally, so it will have a ripple
effect. It will definitely have an impact on the economy,” he said.
Wilbur Jess, who owns the Dutch Cafe, just across from the base’s entrance,
said about 15 percent of the eatery’s customers are reservists who work at
the base, but he’s not worried the partial shutdown will hurt his business.
“I’m not really worried about it, and to tell you the truth I hadn’t really
thought about how it would affect us,” Jess said.
The partial government shutdown shuttered the Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore and furloughed about 50 staffers, while about 30 staff who work in
law enforcement and fire services will remain at work because they’re work
is essential, said park deputy superintendent Garry Traynham.
He said the budget impasse arrives at what would have been a busy week for
the park staff.
“We’re expecting temperatures in the 80s the next few days and the leaves
are starting to turn a little bit so we typically have a fair number of
visitors this time of year,” he said.
The Hoosier National Forest on Tuesday began shuttering its campgrounds at
the forest, which spans 200,000 acres from south of Lake Monroe to the Ohio
River. About 45 staffers have been furloughed, but another 15 involved in
firefighting and law enforcement will remain on duty.
Property spokeswoman Judi Perez said the shutdown comes at a time of year
when the forest typically sees an increase in visitors eager to see its fall