Government Shutdown Affects Montana - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Government Shutdown Affects Montana

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MISSOULA -

It's the first time the government has shut down in 17 years, and it's already starting to effect us here at home. In Montana, more than 12,000 jobs are tied to federal funding.

Federal workers across the state of Montana and the nation were sent home without pay, after the government shut down at midnight.

"This kind of disruption is particularly irksome for those who do business with the federal government, and that's quite a few," said Patrick Barkey of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The shut down was caused after Republicans and Democrats failed to come to an agreement over the spending plan for this fiscal year. This leaves more 800,000 government employees in agencies like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture sitting at home.

"It's a self imposed penalty on the economy, so there clearly is a cost to be paid for not having federal services and that's really what it comes down to," Barkey said.

Numbers from Montana's Senior Senator Max Baucus show as of March 2013, in Missoula alone, more than 1,200 people worked for the government with an average weekly wage of 1,260 dollars.

And it's not just the pay checks, state parks remain open, but national parks, monuments and recreation areas around the state are closed, throwing a wrench in Montana's thriving tourism industry.

"That's really what it comes down to, would be the lion share of the cost is the disruption of the planning and implementation of whole spectrum of activities in health care, construction, non essential defense spending," Barkey said.

Millions of people who depend on some food assistance are also directly impacted. Also, for those applying for federal loans to buy a house, you'll have to wait. Exemptions include social security, medicare and unemployment benefits.

"It's an unwelcomed event, and one that I hope we get resolved soon," Barkey said.

Analysis say the shutdown could last months or just days, but so far no agreement between Republicans and Democrats is in sight. 

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