Maryland Considers How Shutdown Would Affect State Agencies

By BRIAN WITTE
|  Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011  |  Updated 9:31 PM EDT
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Jane Watrel reports on the impact a federal government shutdown would have on local workers and businesses.

Jane Watrel

Jane Watrel reports on the impact a federal government shutdown would have on local workers and businesses.

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Maryland state agencies are examining how a federal government shutdown could affect state operations. Leaders are scheduled to discuss the potential impact Thursday at a meeting or via teleconference, the Associated Press reported.

"We've already been talking to all the cabinet secretaries about what sorts of implications this has for the operations of their own departments and responsibilities," Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday.

Matthew Gallagher, O'Malley's chief of staff, said agencies are examining how a shutdown could slow down federally funded projects that require approval. Federal grant disbursements also could be suspended.

"We've asked all of the agencies that have a lot of interaction with the federal government to kind of try to quantify what the impacts would be and make sure that we're prepared to the extent we can be," Gallagher said.

"The hard part is that there's a number of people who would be impacted by the shutdown; there's a number of people who wouldn't be -- that there are certain defense functions that don't have any type of impact for that," Gallagher said.

The state has a large number of federal workers due to its proximity to the nation's capital. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2009 American Community Survey says 262,984 federal employees live in Maryland.

Congressional negotiators in Washington continue to work on a deal to avoid a shutdown. O'Malley said he hopes a solution can be reached.

"There are solutions to the country's deficit challenges that can be responsibly employed over the course of the years ahead," said O'Malley, a Democrat. "This sort of action, shutting down the government, slamming on the brakes, threatens not only to shut down the federal government, but to put the brakes on our country's recovery, if it were to go on for a prolonged period of time."

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