Posted by News Express | 12 January 2019 | 614 times
Some 800,000 federal workers are not being paid or are working without pay during the partial government shutdown. And the small businesses that cater to those workers are also feeling the pain. But the impact of any shutdown goes far beyond just that. The public loses access to any number of services, and small businesses lose access to things like programs intended to encourage entrepreneurship and government contractors can't get paid.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) stopped processing new loans on December 22, 2018. Those loans will not get processed until the government reopens. That means small businesses can't get the money they need to start or expand their companies. It will likely take months to dig out of the backlog that has already piled up.
According to the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, "routine actions requiring SBA's approval cannot be processed." Lenders won't be able to submit loans into an approval queue for SBA processing, and they can't receive 7(a) loan numbers during the shutdown. Therefore, they can't approve loans under their delegated authority.
The access to capital also hits farmers who can't get access to Agriculture Department loans, or from the tariff relief program that went into effect last fall. Government loans aren't the only solution, but are often the best rates for small businesses. But, in a pinch, a reliable partner with a proven track record could be the solution.
Whenever the government shuts down, a legion of federal workers finds themselves on furlough. That means no more lunches at nearby restaurants and no quick trips to the store on the way home. Small businesses located around federal buildings, national parks or monuments might find a drop in demand until the government shutdown ends and furloughed workers return. Nowhere is the impact greater than in Washington, D.C., where most federal employees are based.
If you were planning international travel or work, those trips may need to be postponed until the shut down ends. That's because the U.S. Department of State expects delays in issuing new or updated passports. That will be especially true in places where the passport office is in a federal building that is shutdown. They will still be processing passports, but there's no guarantee it will be ready when you need it.
"The Department will continue as many normal operations as possible," the Guidance on Operations During a Lapse in Appropriations said. "Operating status and available funding will need to be monitored continuously and closely, and planning for a lapse in appropriations must be continued."
Although it could be easy to conflate government with regulation, the public services small businesses have come to rely on are apparent when they no longer function. Part of weathering the storm of a government shutdown is being prepared for the roadblocks that come with it. While there is little the average entrepreneur can do to affect policy in the nation's capital, there is plenty that can be done to keep businesses running as usual until Washington reopens its doors. (VOA)
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