FORT WAYNE – The Indiana sky is not falling during the partial federal government shutdown, according to Gov. Mike Pence and a personal finance website.
Indiana ranks 50th in a study by WalletHub on how states and the District of Columbia have been affected by the federal government shutdown, which began Oct. 1. Only Iowa is less affected by the shutdown than Indiana.
Meantime, Pence said Tuesday the state government has funds available if need be to continue the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, and the Women, Infants and Children program through October and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program through November.
More than 1.2 million Hoosiers combined benefit from the three programs.
Pence also said the Indiana National Guard has been spending $33,000 a day to pay 244 federally reimbursed employees who provide support to the Guard. Most of the employees have been recalled to work after being furloughed last week, Pence said.
As the federal government shutdown enters its second week, Hoosiers should know that Indiana will be able to mitigate the impact and continue to meet our obligations to those who support our National Guard and to our most vulnerable citizens, Pence wrote in an op-ed column sent Tuesday to Indiana newspapers.
The Journal Gazette plans to publish Pences op-ed Thursday.
On Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered furloughed civilian employees to return to work. His order covered about 1,000 civilian military technicians for the Indiana National Guard, including 216 members of the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne.
Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree, public affairs officer for the Indiana National Guard, said Tuesday that all of the 122nd Fighter Wing technicians have been recalled to work.
Van Bree said in an email that weekend training for nearly 13,000 members of the state Guard has been canceled due to a lack of authorization for us to pay them at this time. Many weekend training events are being rescheduled for later dates.
In its study released Tuesday, WalletHub compared each states per-capita share of federal workers, federal contract dollars, Small Business Administration loans, Federal Housing Administration loans, Social Security payments, student aid applications and military veterans.
Indiana ranked 23rd for SBA loans and 24th for Social Security payments but was near the bottom in the other five categories, according to John Kiernan, senior analyst for Evolution Finance Inc., the Arlington, Va., company that operates WalletHub and the credit- and gift-card website CardHub.
Thats why, all things considered, we dont anticipate the shutdown affecting Indiana as much as other states, Kiernan said Tuesday in an email. Thats not to say people in the state wont suffer as a result of this political chicanery – because people all across the country are experiencing some form of hardship – but rather that the shutdowns impact will be more pronounced in other states.
The most-affected states, in order, are Virginia, Alaska, Alabama, the District of Columbia and Maryland. Kentucky ranked 25th, Ohio 32nd, Illinois 36th and Michigan 41st.
The Washington Post recently published a map showing the metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of federal workers. Colorado Springs, Colo. – home to the U.S. Air Force Academy and three military bases – ranked first, with 18.8 percent (55,000 employees) of the citys workforce paid by the federal government. It was followed by Virginia Beach, N.C., and Honolulu, Hawaii, at 17.2 percent each and the District of Columbia region at 14.3 percent (but 446,000 federal workers).
The only Indiana metropolitan area in the top 100 was Indianapolis, which ranked 48th with 2.5 percent, or 23,000 federal workers.
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