#Federal #government #shutdown: A slow morning at McDonalds

Usually the drive-through line of the McDonald’s restaurant on Ralph Abernathy is pretty long during a school day morning.  Parents drop their kids to school and then hit Mickey Dees for a coffee, sandwich, or whatever floats their boat.  It’s usually a last minute decision for me after dropping my son to school as I try my damndest to avoid the junk food, but today I couldn’t resist the urge for a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.

Beyond the guilt factor, my usual deterrent for getting into that drive through line is the length of it.  It’s too long, and the lobby is no different.  If I see the cars backed up to the curb, I keep heading home, opting instead to pull out the blender and make a smoothie.

Today was different, though, as the line wasn’t just short; it was nonexistent.  I swung in, not believing my eyes that I would be the only one at the drive-through speaker.  Always the wonk, my first thought was whether the “countdown to government shutdown” had anything to do with it.  Being the last day in fiscal year 2013 with no indication that Democrats and Republicans will back away from their position over de-funding ObamaCare in exchange for a budget, maybe federal employees that travel through West End Atlanta on their way to work decided to start their furloughs early.

Why show up for a check today when you have automatic deposit, right?

Georgia workers who play conduit for the flow of federal funds to state-run programs may also be thinking the same thing. According to an article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution,  somewhere between 31% to 32% of Georgia’s state budget is made up of federal funds, mostly for Medicaid and other health programs, along with school lunch and special education programs.

 “From Georgia’s perspective, the biggest impact to our agencies could be a temporary halt to cash flow,” said Teresa MacCartney, the state’s chief financial officer and director of the Office of Planning and Budget.

 “If we have agencies that submit to be reimbursed for expenses from the feds, it is likely that there may not be staff there to process payments for states.

 “If this is for just a couple of weeks, most agencies would be fine. If it continued longer, then it could begin to impact our state allotments and cash flow if agencies continue federal activities without being reimbursed.”-Atlanta Journal Constitution

Sometimes we forget how entangled the federal, state, and local tiers of government are.

As the day goes by, get used to hearing the word, “shutdown” on television and definitely with a hash mark in front of it on Twitter.

At least the biscuit was good and hot ….

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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