Government Shutdown's Effects To Be Far-Reaching
The pending federal government shutdown is estimated to cost taxpayers an estimated $21 million a day.
What isn't included is the cost to businesses that rely on the government to make a living.
A partial shutdown, for instance, would force Everglades National Park to furlough 253 of its 293 employees, leaving only essential government employees on the job. Park law enforcement would inform the few straggling campers and patrol Florida Bay, which would be off limits to fishing.
"It's not just the government employees who are affected," park spokeswoman Linda Friar said. "It's all the businesses who rely on these national parks" — hotels, restaurants, fishing guides, and canoe and kayak rental companies.
The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge west of Boynton Beach, which gets about 100 visitors a day, also would be shuttered.
The last government shutdown in 1995-1996 cost local businesses $14 million per day, according to the Interior Department. The National Parks Conservation Association estimates in today's dollars that loss would be $30 million.
Capt. Jim Hale of Florida Sport Fishing Charters in Miami said companies such as his could not afford to be idle on Florida Bay and would risk running into the few patrols out on the water.
"If they close the Flamingo ramp in Everglades National Park, charters would meet customers at another location," he said. "They would divert and go to another launch ramp in Islamorada."
Besides the national parks closing, other government services will be hit and mostly miss as an estimated 1 million employees will be furloughed. New Social Security applications will be delayed along with Internal Revenue Service audits.
Those wanting to get a new passport better hurry. The State Department has some funds outside the annual congressional appropriation to maintain operations during a partial government shutdown.