Government shutdown will take time to reach local programs

By Kelly McCarthy

October 2, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 11:13 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As the federal government shutdown continues, the chances people will feel an impact in the Southern Tier continue to rise.

Federal funding has been cut off from non-profit organizations and other similar services, meaning programs that offer free school lunches and WIC are operating on reserve funds and what federal aid they still haven't used.

A public administration professor at Binghamton University says it's difficult to articulate the kind of longterm impact the shutdown will have in the Southern Tier.

"The federal government provides kind of the framework for the things that the other levels of government and other actors of society rely on," said Dr. Thomas Sinclair. "So when you pull that out, it's like taking some the of stones out of the foundation of your house."

Essential programs and services for public health and safety remain open, but employees won't get paid until after the shutdown ends.

Sinclair says research and studies on which the nation's development depends will go quiet, which could create a gap in data once the government resumes funding. Sinclair said the information lost in the interim could hurt local communities in the future.

"One of the things that makes this really challenging and difficult is that much of what the federal government does is invisible to us in our daily lives," Sinclair said, "But it's essential to kind of the good order of society."

The New York State WIC program's Broome County chapter said they are prepared to operate business as usual until further notice.

That means all appointments and scheduled events will continue.

"But the longer a shutdown drags out," said Sinclair, "The more difficult it will be for local communities to have those programs, and so what we'll see is as this continues, is there will be bigger problems down the road."