AUGUSTA, Maine The state government has not shutdown since 1991. But with the deadline to approve a budget fast approaching, state officials are telling state employees to be ready for public agencies to close.
“They won't get paid, they won't get back pay because you don't get paid for work you don't do,” said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. “That would include me. So we've told people that we're confident the negotiations will be successful, but be careful.”
A shutdown could see agencies like the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation closed. Only Governor Paul LePage could decide who continues working once the government ceases. Most of those cases include law enforcement and mental health facilities.
“The governor would have a fair amount of authority to designate certain staff as critical, that they have to stay in place and continue to work, then they would be paid probably after the shutdown was completed.”
State employees aren't the only ones effected by a possible government shutdown... With many public agencies closing, it could cause a ripple effect throughout the entire state.
“There are a lot of services that people aren't really thinking about that would not be available. I mean, state parks would be closed so if you've planned a vacation or you have a campsite reserved, you probably wouldn't be able to access that.”
“It's incredibly disruptive. It's disruptive to business, it's disruptive to individuals, people need services from the government to do their business, either personal business or commercial business. And when you can't access that assistance, everything kind of stops.”
Dunlap also warns that a possible shutdown could affect Mainers well after a budget is finally in place.
“It wouldn't just be disruptive for the period of the shutdown, it'd be disruptive for some period of time after that. So every day that would go by is another day's worth of work that you're going to have to get after when you come back to work.”