Local impact of government shutdown

Published: Sep. 30, 2013 at 1:36 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 1, 2013 at 12:29 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's booming economy could face setbacks under a prolonged federal government shutdown, economists and lawmakers said.

With Tuesday's looming deadline, Hawaii's 23,000 civilian federal workers are bracing themselves for furloughs and wage cutbacks.

"This is something that's going to be damaging to our economy as a whole and it's going to be very harmful for our working families," said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Leroy Laney, economics and finance professor at Hawaii Pacific University, believes that a shutdown of just several days won't mean much to the economy. But if it lasts more than a month, it's impact could be felt widely.

"The state economy has some vulnerability. It has the naval shipyard. If it were to affect visas it could affect tourism," Laney said.

"It would affect government workers but it would affect anyone who is dependent on government services."

Hawaii's economy has been on an upswing for several years, as the statewide unemployment rate remains low and visitor arrivals have soared.

But a shutdown of the federal government would mean millions in lost wages and loss of a broad range of government services.

"You're going to see phones in the Social Security office and the Veterans Administration offices not answered and the National parks and monuments will be shutdown," Gabbard said.

"People won't be able to apply for visas. They won't be able to get things processed. They won't be able to visit Hawaii."

Despite the bleak outlook, some are hopeful that a compromise could be worked over the next few days.

"I still would like to believe that no one wants to see government shutdown and they will come to their senses," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.

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