slides: How Hard Has Rhode Island Been Hit by the Federal Shutdown?
Saturday, October 12, 2013
The criteria looked at each state for federal workers per capita, federal contract dollars per capita, small business lending per capita, social security payments per capita, student aid applications per capita, number of veterans per capita, and finally, real estate as a percentage of Gross State Product, to determine which states were feeling the shutdown the most.
See How New England States Rank for Government Shutdown Impact BELOW
Mike Stenhouse with the Center for Freedom and Prosperity saw Rhode Island's position as a positive sign for the state. "I'm thankful that Rhode Island isn't among the worst states for being dependent on the federal government."
Lisa Blais with the Rhode Island taxpayer group OSTPA saw the shutdown itself though as problematic.
"Setting aside that RI ranks among the least affected by the shutdown as measured by WalletHub, everyone should be extremely concerned and agitated by the lack of leadership from the White House -- and both chambers," said Blais. "Cherry picking areas of shutdown to make political points while failing to pass a balanced budget for too many years is an abuse of every taxpayer in our country."
Shutdown's Impact on Housing
"The effects of the shutdown are definitely beginning to be felt. I can tell you it's affecting us, but it's not not horrendous -- yet."
Milito explained that there were several facets of Rhode island Housing's work that were already being impacted.
"The first is that we're the "middle person" with Section 8 funding. We get money from HUD every month to pay landlords who participate in the program. We're all set through October, but we don't know what's going to happen come November. We intend to do what we can to insure that payments on behalf of participating tenants are made."
Milito continued, "Grant programs have been impacted -- services and support to homeless Rhode Islanders, including those at risk for homelessness, as well as counseling programs to prevent foreclosure. The federal online system will take our requests for payment, but there's no one on the other side to accept or verify it."
"The same goes for FHA on the single family side -- we're still able to make reservations for mortgage insurance, but again, if you need a waiver, and there's no one there to review, closings are being held up. FHA has said we can close loans -- at our own risk. So if we're not willing to take that risk, closings are getting held up. We're still closing loans, but some might be slightly delayed..
"HUD usually has around 8700 employees -- they currently have 369 who are exempt, and deemed essential, but they clearly can't take on all of that work."
Stenhouse thought the shutdown could ultimately have a positive impact on the state. "Our advice to lawmakers is that we need to take matters into own hands to fix things -- whether it be common core, or Medicaid, or Obamacare -- we should resist being controlled by Washington."
Related Slideshow: New England States’ Impact From The Federal Shutdown
We are well over a week into the shutdown of our Federal Government, and we are now beginning to show measurable consequences from the furlough and suspension of sevices. Here are the rankings of the impact on the New England states: