With the federal shutdown in its third week, the state is taking its first step toward laying off thousands of public employees.
Michigan budget officials are asking state departments to determine which programs need to be shut down if federal funding isn’t restored before November.
“We really didn’t think we would be at this point,” said Kurt Weiss, a spokesperson for the state budget office. “And neither did the rest of the states. They’re all in the same boat we are, across the country, which is putting together contingency plans to start shutting programs down – which is certainly not something that I would call commonplace.”
Weiss estimates 15,000 to 20,000 state workers would probably be affected.
“We do anticipate a pretty widespread impact across all state agencies that are going to have some employees that are either partially or fully federally funded,” said Weiss. “So these contingency plans are going to tell us which of those folks need to stay home come November 1st.”
Weiss says programs and workers that help Michigan’s poorest residents receive a disproportionate amount of federal dollars. He says agencies such as the state Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be hardest hit if the shutdown lasts much longer.