Local residents bracing for government shutdown’s impact

Photo courtesy of Google Images. 

The ongoing partial government shutdown is the longest in history, at 24 days and counting.

Politicians are saying there is no end in sight.

More than 38 million people are on food stamps. The government shutdown could hit them hard.

If the government doesn’t reopen before the end of February, millions of Americans living below the poverty line could see a cut to their food aid.

When asked if food stamps stop coming during the shutdown, Brenda Bryant, a retired foster mother of two, said, “Yes the (food stamps) are still coming to my household.  It will affect my household seriously, because for No. 1, I’m not getting enough (food stamps) for the kids because they’re basing it on my income. I don’t feel like it should be based on my income because if the state places them in a home they will give them the full benefits. But when a family member gets them, they give them less and base it on the person whoever got them and what benefits they get.”

Robin Washington, an artist, entrepreneur customer service representative at Family Dollar, says the ongoing saga leaves her feeling anxious.

“I do receive food stamps. I did receive my food stamps and usually people that receive EBT probably won’t feel the suffering like people that work for the state. I’ll get assistance twice this month — at least that’s what I’ve been told,” Washington said.

Kelvin Swain, a police officer at the south side Piggly Wiggly, said the delay is affecting business and local stores.

“Yes, I’ve seen a decrease in customers at the store, they’re (the store) losing money, a lot of money, and that’s all I can say.” Swain said.

Washington is anticiapting a ripple effect if the shutdown continues for too long. “Yes, I see customers shopping very carefully, looking for the sales and clipping coupons, because they’re trying to be frugal and make their money last,” she said.

Congress and President Trump have been in a standoff over funding for a border wall, while about 800,000 federal employees are furloughed or working without pay.

Recently, a spokesman for the IRS would not specify how long the shutdown would have to last in order to result in a delay of annual tax refunds.

“No, I have not received my tax return, I am depending on it because I have a family and I need that support and it help more,” said Swain.

Can the delay of tax returns affect small business owners and entrepreneurs?

“It will affect my business because people aren’t going to buy art or spend money on things that make them happy versus things that they need like tissue or food,” said Washington.