Government shutdown continues on in Florida

Thousands of Floridians may feel direct impacts by end of month

Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:55:59 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 11 2013 09:05:01 PM EDT
Florida State Seal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

If the government shutdown doesn't end by the end of the month, thousands more Floridians may feel direct impacts of the bickering in Washington D.C.

Florida's top officials say the state will not spend money to help fund federal programs in the state.

Signs seen at a wildlife refuge are a reminder of the federal government shutdown. As the shutdown drags on, the possibility of food stamp and other aid disruptions loom for Floridians.

Eric Trice of Nichols & Sons Seafood has seen three food stamps recipients all week. On a normal day, he sees up to 15.

"People using food stamps are worried about not getting them anymore. They're spending their money wisely," said Trice. "We've seen a dramatic change in our retail customers, yes."

The funding for food stamps and the temporary assistance for needy families has money through the end of the month. But Gov. Rick Scott has ordered Florida agencies not to spent any money on bills owed by the federal government.

"We're working through all of our agencies to look at what impacts it'll have on the state," Scott said.

Children may be the next target. Smaller school districts in Florida rely more on federal dollars than larger districts. Conflicting reports differ on how long they'll receive money under a long shutdown.

"We're looking closely at it. Again, we're hoping they're going to do the right thing," said State Attorney General Pam Bondi. "This needs to end."

Eleven parks across Florida are already closed due to the shutdown, like St. Marks in north Florida. The Everglades are the most popular park affected.

Regardless, Trice said politicians need to figure the problem in Washington to avoid further issues for people in Florida.

"They need to get their stuff straight and get all of this straightened out," said Trice.

House Republicans said they offered the President a deal that would have increased the debt ceiling without reopening the government immediately, but the proposal fell short of Obama's demands.