Government shutdown could delay tax returns and hold up federally funded projects

State and local treasurers watching budget battle

AKRON, Ohio - Congress has until midnight Friday to reach a deal on a budget and avoid a federal shutdown. In the meantime, several local leaders are preparing for the possibility of receiving less cash for programs and projects.

Taxpayers are also watching developments in the nation's capital very closely. Tax refund checks could be delayed if the U.S. government shuts down.

Stephen Brooks, the associate director of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute, which focuses on applied politics, said that could impact many Americans. 

"The IRS will no longer be able to speedily process returns. If you are waiting for that refund and the government shuts down, it will probably be much later," Brooks said.

Republicans wants $61 billion in spending cuts while democrats and President Barack Obama are pushing for $33 billion.

If an agreement isn't hammered out, cities like Akron could temporarily be out several million dollars.

Akron Treasurer Steve Fricker said a federal shutdown could delay capital projects, including the improvements being made to The Y Bridge.

"We would receive federal money in order to go forward and if the federal government were to shut down, potentially we would be unable to draw down those funds," Fricker said.

Fricker said a long shutdown could also hold up funding for a project that rehabilitates homes in older Akron neighborhoods and stop grant funding that pays for some city workers, including 38 firefighters.

"If it were to go on for a substantial period of time, that's putting more and more financial strain on our local cash sources that we have," Fricker said.

Brooks said a shutdown would not close down post offices or affect delivery of mail. He also said those who get social security checks would still receive them. But Brooks added that there could be slow downs for those filing new social security, Medicare or Medicaid paperwork.

"They may very well end up having to close social security offices because that is not really considered as essential function," Brooks said.

Federal courthouses would have the money to stay open for up to two weeks after a shutdown.

After that, however, there could be some serious disruptions and federal workers could face furloughs.

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