Federal Funding Shut-Down Wouldn't Greatly Affect Mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - The possible federal budget shut-down could affect the federal employees in Mid-Missouri. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), there are approximately 2,979 federal employees in both Boone and Cole counties. 1300 of those employees work at the VA Hospital in Columbia.

According to the hospital's public information officer, Stephen Gaither, the hospital is operating under a 2-year budget that covers last fiscal year and the present fiscal year schedule to end in the summer. As a result, the overwhelming majority of the VA hospital's employees won't be affected if the government goes down next week. Gaither said a research program and its information technology department at the hospital aren't covered by the budget, so those areas could be affected by the federal budget shut-down.

Another organization run by federal employees, the United States Postal Service, will not be greatly affected by a federal budget shut down. Vince Owens, a supervisor at the Jefferson City Post Office, says although it's an entity of the federal government, Congress mandate's that the offices run self-sufficiently. All of its costs are covered by postage and services. Consequently, no changes are expected to those federal employees if a federal shut-down occurs.

Finally, the University of Missouri, a recipient of federal grant money, is not expecting great short-term impacts, should the federal government stop funding. It's still preparing for any budget changes that could occur should something happen with the federal budget. It's keeping accounts up-to-date and making sure currently financial obligations are met, such as research being conducted.