LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Arkansas' surplus funds helping keep programs afloat during the government shutdown have run dry.
Friday was a crucial day impacting a number of state programs that
rely on federal funding, many of them were still learning how many
employees it will have to furlough Friday evening.
With each passing hour Friday the Arkansas Department of Finance and
Administration learned even more about which state departments that will
have to cut down on services, and furlough additional workers.
The number of furloughed workers is expected to near 1,600 by Monday.
A majority of state departments that rely on federal funding for a
variety of services have survived the shutdown so far, but that story
may change over the weekend.
"Come Monday those programs that we have determined do have funding
going forward will continue, those that do not will have to stop on
Monday," said Brandon Sharp, the state's budget administrator.
Sharp said his staff has sifted through thousands of grants during the shutdown to see who can keep their doors open.
"Every day that we go beyond Monday it continues to get
worse-and-worse. Some agencies will run out of the money for their
program by the end of the month," Sharp said about the harsh reality if
the shutdown does not end.
All furloughed employees on the federal level are due to receive back
pay once the government turns its lights back on, but according to
Sharp the government has not approved a back pay method for this next
wave of state employees that are forced to go home.
"That does not apply to our state employees who are working on federal grants," he added.
The department of finance did not want to comment on which programs
will feel the largest effect so that no one in the public was misled.
After calling multiple agencies we found out the following update on furloughs and federal funding:
-The Arkansas Department of Human Services reports 63 employees
remain on furlough, and more than 500 are working on reduced hours right
-The Arkansas Department of Health said 11 people are currently
furloughed but it is checking additional programs, including WIC.
-The Arkansas Department of Education, it's using carryover funds and
grants to fill the gap for what the federal level is no longer
supporting, but it has not placed any employees on a furlough.
The number of furloughed employees due to the shutdown was sat just
over 400 full time employees and just less than 700 part-time.
Outside of jobs, additional services will be cut. Most of these are running out of surplus to keep them going, like WIC.
"They have some contingency funds that they're operating on, but in
terms of how long it goes I've heard estimates to the end of the month,"
Sharp said about the program to low-income women and children.
Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:14:58 GMT
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