Maryland Prepares For Possible Federal Shutdown

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) —Can they make a deal? That’s the big question in Washington as we are just hours away from a government shutdown. The whole country will feel the pain if the budget crisis isn’t resolved. Tens of thousands of federal workers live right here in Maryland.

Mike Hellgren has a closer look at how the shutdown will affect our state.

Social Security workers in Baltimore protested the shutdown. With more than 130,000 federal employees in Maryland, the mess in Washington could have a big impact here, outraging taxpayers.

“In this economy, a lot of people are going to suffer,” said one Md. taxpayer.

“I think it’s very stupid, especially as a government retiree,” said another.

Amtrak will continue running, and so will air traffic control. You’ll still have to file your taxes by April 18, but your refund could be delayed.

“Anyone who’s got something that needs a hand intervention, that could be delayed,” said Catherine Censullo, accountant.

Fort McHenry would shut down, along with all other national parks. Paychecks for Maryland’s military families would be delayed, angering many.

“I’m stunned. I mean all the aid we give to these other countries and we can’t take care of our own,” said Danielle, military wife.

Baltimore’s mayor says she’s very concerned about the impact of federal funding on the cash-strapped city.

“If the same thing was happening in city government, we’d be thrown out of office,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Governor Martin O’Malley released this statement:

“Congressional Republicans are allowing their hate of government to hurt the hardworking families of our country.  It appears they care more about hurting our government than they do about helping our recovery.

“Maryland is home to thousands of federal civil servants – moms and dads who will go without pay because Speaker Boehner and the Republicans have chosen to wage an ideological war instead of putting the interests of their nation first.”

But one group who will get paid–shutdown or not: members of Congress.

“I hope we don’t go into anything prolonged because I don’t think anybody benefits from that,” said Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland, 1st Congressional district.

 If there is a shutdown, Rawlings-Blake plans to convene an emergency Cabinet meeting to review potential impacts on the city.

Maryland faces the prospect of reduced state income tax revenue should federal workers experience a furlough without retroactive pay.  In addition, state revenue losses are anticipated from the furloughing of federal contractors working in the state.  Further impeding our economic recovery would be the loss of projected revenues from reduced spending on taxable goods.

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