McCrory: State preparing for federal shutdown

Posted October 1, 2013

Gov. Pat McCrory

— State government is bracing for the impact of the partial federal government shutdown, Gov. Pat McCrory told the Council of State Tuesday morning. 

"In the departments that I'm responsible for, probably the two biggest impacts will be in the Department of Health and Human Services, where we have approximately 4,500 employees that are funded fully or partially with federal funds, ... and the Department of Commerce," McCrory said.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Safety would be affected as well, he said. 

Although the state government operates independently of the federal government, North Carolina does administer dozens of federal programs. The federal government reimburses the state for those operations, but without a new federal budget, the dollars to pay for those workers don't exist. 

State officials were on the phone with their federal counterparts as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday to sift through which positions and functions were considered "critical" by the federal government and would therefore keep working and which were "non-essential."

State Budget Director Art Pope sent a memo to state agencies outlining how the delay in federal funding would be handled, although he said the state was still trying to get a handle on specifics. 

"The state is required to follow federal guidelines on the use of federal funds during the shutdown," Pope said.

In particular, the state administers environmental, health and safety programs required by federal law but reimbursed with federal tax dollars. It is up to the federal government, he said, to determine whether state workers funded with that money stay on the job.

Social services programs such as unemployment insurance and Social Security will be largely unaffected, he said. 

State employees who are funded only partially by federal funds will have their time and pay reduced by the proportion of their salary paid for by the federal government. In some cases, the federal government may waive some furlough requirements. 

"One example of this is the administration of the federal Social Security Disability program," Pope said. "The disability payments are already funded, but you still need to administer the claims for payment."

The Social Security Administration has already notified the state that those claims processors will stay on the job.

"The gray area is whether a state-administered federal program is considered critical or noncritical by the federal government," Pope said. "One example are the numerous inspection programs and whether they are considered critical public safety and health or if inspectors should be furloughed."

McCrory offered his help to the heads of independently-elected state departments in managing the cash crunch. Of those, the most affected might be the state Department of Labor, where a quarter of the workforce is federally funded, according to Commissioner Cherie Berry. 

"We have two major goals," McCrory said. "We've got to make sure that functions that are critical remain open and yet, at the same time, we have to make sure we aren't spending money the state doesn't have."

One bright note: the North Carolina State Fair will not be affected if the shutdown runs on for days and weeks. The Labor Department inspectors who make sure rides are safe are funded by locally collected fees.


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  • wildpig777 Oct 4, 2013


  • geoherb1 Oct 3, 2013

    Don't worry, there will still be hundreds of thousands of people going to the State Fair. Maybe some of them will play fewer games, eat a little less, and ride fewer rides to save a few bucks. But I'm sure the vendors will still be raking in the money.

  • StormyCat Oct 2, 2013

    Why make this a Republican/Democrate thing!? It is really just a stupid bunch of men doing what THEY want to do, not what the PEOPLE who put them there want them to do. Plain and simple, LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE!

    As far as the NC State Fair goes, who will be attending when all the Federal workers are out on furloughs? Even if they go back just when the Fair starts the bills will need to be paid before wasting money at the Fair.

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Oct 2, 2013

    McCrory and his overpaid cronies are on the job. I feel safer already.

  • Objective Scientist Oct 2, 2013

    If this NONSENSICAL, MORONIC behavior is "successful" - what can we expect in the future? That every time a small, but very determined and passionate group of Legislators, disagrees with and opposes a law that "went through the process" and was passed - "fair and square" - by Congress and signed by the President, and in this case also considered and found to be lawful by the Supreme Court - we go through this process? That simply can NOT be tolerated. Some solution or remedy must be found to stop such shenanigans!! I would fight to defend the Tea Party's "right" to support or oppose anything, their right to "state" their case, etc. on any topic... but to "hold hostages" like they are doing with this - HELL NO! That said... and I hate using political terminology and jargon that is so "relative" - the moderate Republicans in Congress and the Speaker need to "get a backbone" and not allow the Tea Party to control by "bullying"!

  • junkmail5 Oct 2, 2013

    The sky isn't falling...keep her shut down!!

    It's likely costing the country somewhere north of 300 million dollars a day to remain shutdown.

    Why do you favor continuing wasting money?

    But by your... logic... Obamacare has been the law of the land since 2010... the sky isn't falling.... keep it running!

  • arfamr1009 Oct 2, 2013

    The sky isn't falling...keep her shut down!!

  • JustAName Oct 2, 2013

    Good time to determine if these jobs and services are needed. A good time for the State to stop taking handouts with strings attached from the Federal government.

  • vbcouple95 Oct 2, 2013

    One bright note: the North Carolina State Fair will not be affected if the shutdown runs on for days and weeks. The Labor Department inspectors who make sure rides are safe are funded by locally collected fees.

    Yeah, this is real important

  • junkmail5 Oct 2, 2013

    How do you feel about Obama exempting themselves from the HC law?- CarolinaTim

    I feel you're repeating the same lie you have been corrected on at least 10 times now.

    Why do you keep lying?

    They were subject to it in the original bill- CarolinaTim

    and they STILL ARE.

    Stop lying.

    Plus the president gives all of his donors and big business buddies exemptions too- CarolinaTim

    and...more lies.

    -all- businesses subject to the mandate got a 1 year delay.

    Regardless of who they are friends with.

    Seriously, literally -everything- I have seen you post about the ACA has been lie. Every single thing.

    I can't imagine how you're THAT badly informed.