Written by Phil Cerroni
As the federal shutdown approaches its third week, states across the nation begin to feel the pinch of federal funding curtailment. Although the future remains uncertain, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said after a talk at the University of Dallas on Oct. 8 that the state has picked up the slack, keeping dollars flowing to Medicaid and paying the salaries of 500 Department of Public Safety officers bankrolled by federal dollars. The state is also currently supporting a number of other federally-subsidized programs.
“We’re trying to cover those costs right now so that people in nursing homes aren’t affected, and the elderly and the frail aren’t affected,” Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. “…But we’re watching this carefully because if the government shutdown lasts more than a month or so, it’s going to have a very strong effect on all of the states on certain program areas.”
Programs that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst intimated might be affected include schools and water reservoirs.
Unlike some states that rely heavily on federal assistance for their day-to-day operations, Texas can keep state employees at work, at least temporarily.
“Well, we’re spending forward in our current appropriations. In other words, we’re covering a number of these programs out of our states dollars that we’ve allocated for the programming, expecting to be paid back by the federal government when the shutdown is completed,” Lt. Gov Dewhurst said.