How would federal government shutdown affect East Tennessee?

How would federal government shutdown affect East Tennessee?

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By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - If the federal government shuts down due to a budget impasse, how would it affects the lives of East Tennesseans?

One possibility is for those who like to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because the national parks will likely shut down.

The National Park Service is already making plans to close the visitor center, campground, and picnic areas if the government shuts down.

Despite some federal funding, Knox County and Knoxville city government will not shut down.

"We're monitoring it closely, but we will continue to provide services," said Knox County Finance Director John Troyer.

Knoxville Communications Coordinator Randy Kenner says, "In the short term, we're not too worried because it wouldn't have much of an impact."

But if the federal government stays shut down for too long, eventually everyone will feel it.

"It's something that is important," Troyer said. "We have a number of school programs, health partner programs and some others that are funded with federal dollars. But on a day to day basis, we're going to continue to operate."

Knoxville will pull from a $50 million rainy day fund if needed.

"We're going to provide all the same services that the city always does, all the same programs. It's not going to affect us there," Kenner said. "Then if there were a long shut down, hopefully we'd get reimbursed."

The University of Tennessee also gets federal dollars. Officials there say for a short term shutdown there will be no change, but it's still unclear how a long shutdown might affect the university.

The federal courthouse in Knoxville hears cases from all over East Tennessee and officials say it will remain open even if the government shuts down.

However, depending on how long the shutdown lasts, just like any other federal building, some non-essential services at the federal courthouse may have to come to halt.

The U.S. Postal Service says no matter what happens with the budget, the mail will not be affected.

Gov. Bill Haslam's office released a statement Wednesday about a possible shutdown, saying, "We expect the federal government will pass a budget and not shut down. In the event of a temporary disruption, however, our departments will assess what impact any delay in federal funding would have on programs and services and respond accordingly."

In Washington, Congressman Jimmy Duncan had a different take. He told 6 News Wednesday in a satellite interview, "At this point it looks like the government would have to be shut down at least for a few days."

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