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Governor outlines financial impact of federal shutdown

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Hundreds of millions in federal funding and even more in tourism dollars are on the line for the state of Utah as the stalemate in Washington D.C. continues.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Hundreds of millions in federal funding and even more in tourism dollars are on the line for the state of Utah as the stalemate in Washington D.C. continues.

Governor Gary Herbert's monthly news conference began with the shutdown.

"I know it's on everyone's mind, the federal shutdown," said Herbert.

From there it never changed course.

"We here in Utah are doing everything we can to help mitigate that. We have contingency plans that have been put in place," said Herbert.

Even with the plans in place the cuts are deep. Of the nearly 40,000 federal employees in our state, the governor says about 10,000 are being shutdown through furloughs.

"Obviously the longer that occurs, the shutdown, the deeper the furloughs may be, the more it will impact our economy," said Herbert.

Another impact is tourism, the governor says the shutdown puts up to one billion dollars in state revenue in jeopardy.

That revenue serves as the economic backbone to places like the small, southern Utah town of Torrey.

"It's been pretty significant. What we've had is a lot of confused tourists, vacationers, visitors to the point they really don't know where they can go," said Torrey Mayor, Adus Dorsey.

Dorsey says they are trying to make due, encouraging visitors to stick around for nearby state attractions. He says so far guests are receptive, but as the clock ticks he grows more concerned. Especially knowing October is the biggest tourism month of the year.

"People are going to stop coming. They are going to cancel their trips," said Dorsey.

The ripple effects of a Washington gridlock being felt thousands of miles away.

"Our hope is Washington D.C. can get their act together, keep the federal government open and in the process find efficiencies," said Herbert.

As for the overall state budget, the governor says the shutdown is leading to a 20% reduction from the approximately four billion dollars the state receives from the federal government.

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