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Residents, financial experts react to government shutdown, looming debt ceiling crisis

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 1:41 p.m. CST
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Due to the partial government shutdown, all Fermilab public events and tours have been suspended because of the lapse in federal funding.

As Thursday’s deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit draws closer, St. Charles resident Steve Koivula is upset that the federal government hasn’t addressed what he perceives as the real problem – overspending.

“You have to cut the spending,” Koivula said. “The longer you delay, the worse it will be.”

Federal lawmakers continued Tuesday evening to work on a deal to temporarily fund the government to end a partial shutdown and raise the federal borrowing limit to ensure that all bills can be paid.

The deadline for increasing the debt ceiling is Thursday. Koivula also criticized lawmakers for not being able to work together to find a solution to the nation’s budget problems.

“The federal government is totally dysfunctional,” he said. “They are not an example for anybody to follow.”

Stewart Beach, a financial adviser with Clear Perspective Advisers, which has offices in St. Charles and Aurora, believes an agreement will eventually be reached on the debt ceiling, although he believes Thursday’s deadline is artificially set.

“The government is not going to let us default on our debt,” Beach said.

He is advising his clients not to worry about the fallout that has been caused by the partial government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling crisis.

“The market hasn’t dropped that significantly,” Beach said. “People should make sure their portfolio is properly allocated, and to look at the long-term picture.”

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said his office will be monitoring the situation and the impact it could have on state finances.

“I have ensured that the Illinois State Treasury is positioned for a possible short-term technical default on U.S. Treasury bills,” Rutherford said in a statement. “This planning will allow the state to meet its liquidity needs, such as payments on general obligation bonds and interest on a short-term basis.”

The effects of the partial government shutdown, now in its second week, are being felt in this area. For one, all Fermilab public events and tours have been suspended because of the lapse in federal funding.

The high-energy physics laboratory, located in Batavia, remains open, but for how long remains unknown. Fermilab employs about 1,700 people.

Department of Energy officials have said if a funding resolution is not achieved in the near term, the department will have to shut down nonessential operations, resulting in employee and contractor furloughs.

“This reckless and unnecessary shutdown is hurting our still-recovering economy and could have a serious impact on our national labs, including Fermilab,” U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, who is a former Fermilab scientist, has said. “If this shutdown continues, Fermilab will likely be forced to furlough staff and shut down research. We need to immediately end this unnecessary shutdown and get the government back to work.”

The St. Charles office of the Kane-DuPage Soil & Water Conservation District also is closed because of the government shutdown. Staff members are having to work remotely.

In a recent statement about the government shutdown, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, said he has been fighting to “protect hardworking families and small businesses from the unintended consequences of the president’s health care law.”

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