Around Acadiana

Oct 1, 2013 10:49 PM by Alex Labat

Government Shutdown Already Affecting Some in Acadiana

Today marks day one of the partial shutdown of the federal government.
While not all Americans will be directly affected, it's impacts could be felt across the state.
Here's a breakdown of what's affected here, no new W.I.C participants will be added, however current Womens, Infants, and Childrens benefits must still be honored.
The U.S.D.A. Will not issue any rural housing loans, which are a major source of mortgages in the area.
Checks from the V.A. could be in danger of being processed if the shutdown lasts for a long period of time.
The Department of Homeland Security says all non-disaster grants, like state and local preparedness programs, are on hold.
Passports and visas aren't being processed.
And the more than 14 million students who get aid through federal grants and loans may not get the money, because there won't be enough federal employees to process the payments.
When it comes to recreation, there are a half-dozen or so national parks in Louisiana, including the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and the Atchafalaya National Heritage area in Acadiana.
These have been closed, and campers in the parks were forced to leave.
Of those services affected by the shutdown, the shuttering of local
I.R.S. offices has many Acadiana residents concerned about their futures.

At the Lafayette I.R.S. offices, taxpayers faced a locked door.
"Where are we going to go? We come here, and there's no directions. nowhere to go, doesn't tell us who to call. There's nobody around to say nothing", says Larry Ledet.
Only 10% of I.R.S. employees will be reporting to work, meaning many phone calls and knocks on doors will go unanswered.
An automated message from the I.R.S. Says, "Due to the current budget situation, all I.R.S. offices are closed. Under federal law, all tax payments and filing deadlines remain in effect during this period."
Tiaira Powell responds, saying, "How are we going to get things done if we don't have a telephone number, contact, nothing. We can't do our job if the I.R.S. isn't doing their job."
Jordan Gerard, branch manager for the Louisiana Mortgage Group, says without the I.R.S., many rural loans will go unprocessed, hurting the local real estate market.
"So these loans are completely shut down. If you're scheduled to close today, tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, and you have a U.S.D.A. loan and you're waiting on the commitment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to close, you're not going to get it", says Gerard.
The I.R.S. is suspending audits for taxpayers until the government gets back to work. Gerard and many in Acadiana will have to wait to do the same.
Gerard says, "We're going to work through it and come up with a contingency plan for everything. But until it starts happening we really don't know if it's going to be tomorrow or two months from now. If we're looking at more than two weeks I think things are going to get pretty hectic."

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