What the government shutdown means to SWFL

Julian Glover

Photo: Video by fox4now.com

What the government shutdown means to SWFL

CREATED Sep. 30, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The clock is ticking to midnight when the federal government will shutdown if Congress fails to pass a new spending bill, but what does it all mean for Southwest Florida?

Slow and steady

The process of a government shutdown is just that  - a process. Very little impact will be seen right away.

Everyday things like getting a new passport or a gun permit could take longer than normal because of backlogs created by furloughed federal workers.

What gets the ax first?

The one thing that you can expect to change tomorrow is a complete shutdown of federal parks and preserves, like the J.N. "Ding" Darling National wildlife refuge on Sanibel. 

Fox 4 spoke with the director of the refuge today by phone as he prepared to close the refuge.

"We'd be closed," said Paul Tritaik, the director of the refuge. "They wouldn't be able to access the refuge. They would have to just wait until the government reopens. All of them would be furloughed, which means they would not be able to work at all."

Non-essential government employees will also be furloughed until Congress can reach a budget agreement. 

What will not be affected?
  • Mail services
  • Airports/TSA
  • Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment benefits 
  • Food safety inspections
  • WIC, Food stamps 
  • VA services, VA loans
  • Taxes 
When will it end? 
That's up to Congress, but in the past, shutdowns have lasted three days on average. The most recent shutdown, happening back in 1995, lasted 21 days and cost the government more than a billion dollars.