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Is the Government Shutdown Shutting Down Small Business?

We are in the midst of the longest so-called “Government Shutdown” in history, the lack of appropriations affecting a sizeable portion of Federal workers and offices.  The Small Business Administration stopped processing new loans on Dec. 22.  President Trump has said the shutdown could last “months or even years,” a scenario that is having an impact on banks and business owners. From the Washington Post, “As we are hearing every day from businesses across the country, the adverse consequences of the shutdown are wide and growing,” wrote Neil Bradley, executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a letter Tuesday to Congress. “With each passing day, the situation will only get worse.”.

In the real estate industry, we are noticing a lag in FHA loans closing in a timely manner, likely due to far fewer employees to process the loan. Any special loans will not be approved as there is no one in the FHA to approve them. The impact on the housing industry will likely linger for some time. With employers struggling this will likely discourage home buyers to take the leap. Brewers are struggling with the inability to get new beers approved, because the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is closed.

Government contracts will not be paid, hurting the small businesses that served them. Federal employees are literally without pay which will surely affect the Main Street businesses in areas that house a lot of federal employees.  Consumer spending confidence will surely be down and will impact us locally.

This shutdown is, ironically, one of the few bipartisan activities to come out of Washington in recent years.  So far neither party has blinked, while America waits for its government to resolve this and the underlying issue that led to the impasse remains. Let’s pray a resolution comes about swiftly.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Business Council, “A business advocacy group”

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