By Nick Somoski
LANSING TOWNSHIP – The U.S. federal government officially shut down at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday, Oct. 1, and although the effects are minimal in Lansing Township, local residents may want to be informed of what to expect.
This shutdown, the first in 17 years, is the product of a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over future spending for the new Affordable Care Act, new provisions of which went into effect the same day.
Supervisor Kathy Rodgers said that most Lansing Township residents should not worry about the partial shutdown because it is unlikely to affect them directly.
“There is nothing for us to prepare for,” Rodgers said. “Federal revenue sharing ended for local units of government over 30 years ago.”
On a larger scale, however, she said the shutdown should not be taken for granted. Rodgers was quick to give her opinion about the shutdown: “Instead of being a government of laws, we are now a government of temper tantrums. That the minority in Congress can do away with laws passed, signed and tested in the courts by throwing a temper tantrum is the height of buffoonery.”
Lansing Township residents may be directly affected if they are government employees or are applying for home or small business loans. Karen Harper, a first-time home buyer in Lansing Township, submitted a mortgage loan application just last week and is hoping for a speedy approval process. However, a longer shutdown will result in loan approval delays.
“My lender told me my loan application has been temporarily put on hold,” Harper said. “It’s certainly a frustrating experience and will only get more frustrating for me and many others if the government does not get its s— together.”
According to government officials, if the shutdown runs longer than a week, the IRS will be unable to provide borrower tax records to lenders, which may cause an indefinite delay on each new loan application that comes in.
Katherine Draper, executive director of the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, says this could potentially have adverse effects on the growth of the local housing market.
“Based on numbers we’ve seen from the treasurer’s office, the housing market [specifically in] Lansing Township has been on a major upswing,” Draper said. “A prolonged shutdown would make it hard for first-time buyers to get their loans approved, and that would temporarily stop the growth of the housing market in a city that relies heavily on first-time buyers.”
Draper added that this would most likely be the biggest effect of the government shutdown on Lansing Township.
Similarly, small business loans may also see a delay depending on the necessity of an IRS response. Gun permit applications will not be processed. Social security, unemployment and disability checks (and all other mail) will be sent as usual, while the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will continue. All services will resume as soon as Congress agrees on and the president signs a new spending bill.