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Source: Joseph Aistrup, 785-532-6900, jaistrup@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Kayela Richard, 785-532-1546, media@k-state.edu

Friday, April 8, 2011

FORSEEABLE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WOULD CAUSE MINIMAL PROBLEMS IN KANSAS, PROFESSOR SAYS

MANHATTAN -- As the clock ticks down to midnight, all eyes are on Capitol Hill while congress fights to balance the national budget. According to a Kansas State University professor, expect time to run out.

Joseph Aistrup, professor of political science, believes there's a fairly good chance the government shutdown will happen -- but only a short-term one.

"Here in Kansas we won't immediately notice a governmental stall," Aistrup said. "However, if something requires someone to process paperwork, then you're in trouble. Applications for Social Security, health care, financial aid and any other benefits or contracts in the process will be delayed. If you already have it, chances are you're OK."

Government functions that protect life and property would continue, Aistrup said. This includes Kansas law enforcement and military troops from Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley -- though soldiers may have late paychecks if the shutdown occurs for an extended period of time.

"All troops will remain on active duty," he said. "If the Pentagon does not pay soldiers on time, chances are that our soldiers and their families may be late paying some of their bills, but they eventually will be paid for their service. Landlords and debtors should exercise patience."

Some college students may have to wait longer for their financial aid if they are applying right now, but a government shutdown probably won't have many consequences for students and colleges in Kansas. The vast majority of faculty and staff at universities will be unaffected by a short-term government shutdown, Aistrup said.

"It will come into play if a faculty member is currently being evaluated for national funding by agencies like the National Institutes of Health," he said. "But if they have already received funding they should be unaffected."

Aistrup said government shutdowns could be something we need to worry about in the future. Congress has yet to pass a budget for the current fiscal year that ends in July. He said it isn't just the budget, it's about extending the debt ceiling of the federal government where the potential for additional governmental shutdowns periodically occur.

"In the past we've had shutdowns that have lasted a day or the weekend," Aistrup said. "We haven't really had a long-term government shutdown so we don’t know what will happen if it stretches for up to a month. However, I don't anticipate that this shutdown could last that long."