Trickle-down effect of government shutdown set to impact thousands in KC

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With 27,000 government employees and thousands more working for companies with government contracts, there's no doubt a shutdown will have an impact in Kansas City. But beyond the salaries are government programs, and if a shutdown goes on too long, the trickle down will affect many more.

“We will be okay for the next couple weeks,” said Nancy Sanchez, the WIC Coordinator in Wyandotte County.

WIC serves more than 7,000 women, infants and children, providing supplemental food and nutritional education. Sanchez hopes any shutdown is temporary, because nothing good will come from a lengthy one.

“That would be really bad, that's a huge impact a lot of our families are the working poor they struggle with transportation, they struggle with keeping their jobs, paying their bills and when we aren't offering food assistance then it's a trickle down,” Sanchez said.

Government programs won't be the only by-product of a shutdown. The overall economy in the metro could feel a pinch. With 27,000 federal employees and many more paid through government contracts, each dollar is important.

“That dollar comes here, gets spent by the families that receive it. Then, respent and respent so that when all is said and done, every federal dollar here ends up creating another dollar to be spent someplace else,” Frank Lenk, Mid-America Regional Council’s chief economist, said.

Lenk said the immediate pains will be felt by the federal workforce.

“For the families affected they could dip into savings, dip into credit and that can be uncomfortable if it's short, it can be painful if it's long,” Lenk said.

In the event of a shutdown, budgets will tighten, there's no guarantee any lost money will be reimbursed. Lenk said disposable income goes first, so retail and entertainment dollars would likely be the first to go from the family budgets of federal workers.

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