Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 2, 2013

Mich. feels blowback from shutdown

EMPIRE — After a tiring journey from Los Angeles to Detroit for a wedding, David Zorn and Jennifer Li were looking forward to a few days of camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan. Instead, their visit was cut short Tuesday as the park closed because of the partial government shutdown.

“It’s a bummer,” Zorn said as he and Li ate a hurried breakfast of scrambled eggs and baked beans, heated over the dying embers of their campfire. “It’s something we were not closely following, but we didn’t think it would actually affect us. It’s one of those things that doesn’t hit home until you’re booted out.”

Effects of the impasse in Congress over federal spending and the health care law rippled across Michigan. Government workers were furloughed, national parks, forests and wildlife refuges were shut down and National Guard installations were left with skeleton crews.

In Grand Rapids, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum closed, and staffers scrambled to provide access to an exhibition that’s part of the international ArtsPrize competition. Works by two artists on display in the main lobby were moved to an outdoor tent.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said the state budget would take a big hit from Congress’ failure to agree on a spending plan by the end of the fiscal year. The federal government provides over 40 percent of Michigan’s budget, or about $20 billion, covering services such as Medicaid and food aid for the needy.

“If the federal government is shut down for just a day or two, the effects on Michigan’s residents will be minimal,” Snyder said. “A longer-term shutdown, though, could have consequences.”

The state will lose $18 million each day the shutdown continues, Budget Director John Nixon said.

“It’s a disruption to our families. It’s a disruption to our economy,” Nixon said. “This is just ridiculous.”

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