Possibility of federal government shutdown hits home to Louisianians
BATON ROUGE- If republicans and democrats don't reach a budget deal by Friday night, the government closes shop, and you're in the cross-hairs.
It would be the first shutdown in 19 years.
If the worst happens, the IRS will stop taking tax forms through the mail and will stop mailing tax returns.
Tax preparation businesses, like Jackson Hewitt, are telling customers to put away the paper and file on-line to avoid a hold up. They're also suggesting to opt out of paper payments and deal in direct deposit.
Steve Everly, district manager of Jackson Hewitt offices in Baton Rouge, said, "If you're going by paper, you can expect probably instead of five to seven weeks, you're looking at your refund coming back in ten to 15 weeks."
Customers say they shouldn't need to jump through hoops to get what they've earned.
"A lot of people are working people and they depend on that," said Dena Potts, "I am a single mom, I depend on it as well."
Everly said, "I know that there are folks that are planning their vacation budgets and in some cases planning to make a rent payment or mortgage payment, based off of the refund being processed and now they're not going to receive that money."
At the Department of Defense, a significant number of employees will have to take off of work without pay, and all soldiers oversees will have to keep working without pay.
Military wife Amy Tersigni said, "I'm scared, I don't know what's going to happen and I don't know how I'm going to be able to provide for my kids."
Some programs will remain, but are limited.
Social Security will still come, but new applications won't be taken. TSA agents and air-traffic controllers will still be on the job at airports and mail will still roll, but passports won't be processed.
And a big hit for travelers, federal parks in Louisiana will close. Cane River Creole Park and Heritage Area, Jean Lafitte National Battlefield and the New Orleans Jazz Historical Park would shut the gates. And if it drags on, even federal courts could be impacted.
Even though there are issues in Washington, you're taxes are still due on April 18th. Tax preparation services are also planning to help customers even after that deadline, for confusion over where their refunds are.
Editor's Note: We previously incorrectly reported that Poverty Point was a federal facility and would face a shutdown as a result of budget problems in Washington. Poverty Point is actually fully owned by the State of Louisiana. We apologize for the error.