Federal shutdown has large impact locally

Posted at: 10/01/2013 6:13 PM | Updated at: 10/01/2013 6:17 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

"Bleep bleep bleeping government!"

Sentiments many of us might share, uttered by New Mexico taxpayer Wuilliam Dixon Tuesday morning in front of the closed and locked I.R.S. building in Albuquerque.

That building is just one of many federal government operations around the state that shut down when Congress deadlocked in a fight over federal spending and Obamacare.

"I think they ought to just start over and start fresh," Dixon said. "Get all them people out, get some new faces. People that can actually do their job instead of just making the money and sitting on their butts and screwing the small people!"

A couple of miles away, at the Social Security building, it was a slightly different story. They were open, but only for limited services, as Beatrice Wade found out the hard way.

"I went in there to attempt to get a Social Security card for my son and they told me the government has shut down," Wade said. "I was in shock, knowing that this is one of the main buildings here in Albuquerque. I mean, we need it open."

Kirtland Air Force Base remained open with military personnel on duty and on payroll, but there was no work for about 2,000 civilian employees on the base.

Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories were open, however.

That was not the case for the U.S. Forest Service.  Illinois tourists Julie and Jeff Rolfingsmeier found the Sandia Ranger Station closed. They couldn't find out whether they could hike or couldn't.

"We came to New Mexico to see all the national sites," Jeff said. "Now, with the government shut down, everything's closed down so we just have to really come up with a new plan. Hopefully, it works out."

Petroglyph National Monument rangers closed gates at trailheads and parking lots just like rangers did at hundreds of other parks and monuments around the nation.

"We're not the only park," said ranger Diane Sowder. "There's 401 units of the national park system and today they're all closed. People will not be able to take raft trips down the Grand Canyon or hike into Carlsbad or drive out to Chaco. They're all closed."

So, life is suddenly more difficult for thousands of New Mexico taxpayers but even tougher for federal employees on furlough on indefinite leave without pay again while Democrats and Republicans in Congress blames each other for the meltdown.

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