What Would A Government Shutdown Close?

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

"Our complete focus is on resolving the budget."

That is how spokesperson for the governor, Liz Boyd, responds to questions about a budget shutdown. The governor would make most of the specific decisions about how that shutdown would effect government.

It is clear essential services wouldn't be touched. That's police, and prisons, and likely health and child welfare. Beyond that, though, it's not clear what's essential.

Political analyst Bill Ballenger says he expects department heads would close parts of their departments. He says he really doesn't know how it would work because the government hasn't faced the scenario since 1959.

The precedent from other states doesn't offer much guidance. New Jersey's July 2006 shutdown famously closed casinos and sent 45,000 employees home. State parks, beaches, museums closed too. Prisons, mental hospitals, child welfare offices, and police stayed on.

In Minnesota though, in 2005, parks were open, along with the more traditional "essentials." There, Department of Motor Vehicle offices and rest stops were among the things closed.

The lottery would be an tough choice for the government since it costs money to run, but also makes money for Michigan schools. State checks for schools from the school aid fund, shouldn't go out, according to the constitution. The legislature could authorize emergency spending.

Talk now though is on the spending before them--a budget that must be balanced within ten days, or else.


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