How government shutdown would hurt Americans
A government shutdown could sink Cami Stewart's dream of building a restaurant on this land in Justin, Texas.
April 8th, 2011
03:44 PM ET

How government shutdown would hurt Americans

Cami Stewart's dream of becoming the "Taco Queen" of Justin, Texas, could crumble if the federal government shuts down.

Stewart has spent 16 months developing a business plan and preparing paperwork for a million-dollar loan that needs approval from the Small Business Administration. She's building a Taco Mayo restaurant, a small, regional fast-food chain, from the ground up on a small parcel of undeveloped land.

If there's a shutdown, the SBA would suspend loan approvals, threatening Stewart's plan.

"I've been working and doing a lot of research trying to figure this out," she said.

Even a short shutdown could spoil Stewart's first efforts. She has until the end of April to close the real estate deal. She said other developers are also interested in the land and would swoop in and buy it if her loan doesn't come through in time.

"Every day matters. It's going to be hard for us to close by the end of the month," she said. "If the government shuts down, then that will delay us further and we lose our land contract then - you know, pretty much starting over."

Stewart said other pieces of land in Justin are much more expensive and would need thousands of dollars of extra work to get set up for a restaurant, and those expenses weren't part of her business plan.

Share your shutdown worries

Stewart spent 15 years working in the corporate world for Fidelity Investments. She decided to take a chance on going out on her own because she's a single mother of a 5-year-old girl with Down syndrome. She said she hopes becoming an entrepreneur will help her take better care of her daughter's needs.

"I just want the ability to be able to take my daughter to the specialists that she needs," Stewart said. "I don't mind working a lot of hours, but I just need that flexibility."

The threat of a government shutdown puts thousands of small businesses across the country in limbo. Some loans, such as Stewart's, would help fund start-up businesses. Some SBA loans help existing small businesses refinance debt. The SBA approves about $400 million in loans every week, according to an agency spokesman.

Ten ways a shutdown could ruin your day

To receive SBA loans, small businesses must get approval from bank lenders and the SBA. The SBA essentially guarantees those loans for the banks lending the money.

If there is a shutdown, most banks will continue to process these loans, but the SBA won't be around to sign off on them. The only SBA loans that would still be funded are part of the disaster loan program.

Several banking officials said small business loans would still be forwarded to the SBA but would then just sit in a line and would be processed in the order they were received after the government starts up again.

Ten ways a shutdown could make your day

A spokesman said agency officials are confident an agreement will be reached before the midnight Friday deadline. Nevertheless, the agency "is committed to providing detailed guidance to small businesses, entrepreneurs, lenders and our partners in the coming days if a lapse in funding looks likely," he said.

Federal employees nervously watch the clock

Stewart can only sit and watch the political theatrics and fighting over the budget in Washington from the grassy field in Justin where she hopes to start her first business.

When she's asked what she thinks of the politicians fighting over the budget, Stewart only smiles and says, "Isn't politics interesting?"

She's been on long-term disability and hasn't worked in three years, but that money has run out and she no longer has a steady income. A government shutdown wasn't part of the plan.

"I am worried. I need to start working," she said.

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Filed under: Politics • Texas
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Joey

    "is (sic) unemployment checks going to stop..."
    Writing that way, how did you ever get a job that qualified you for unemployment insurance?

    April 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Amy

    I don't want a shutdown, who really does. It is terrible that familes won't get paid and may other Americans will be affected because of this happening. HOWEVER, KEEP FIGHTING republicans, don't give up easy even if it does shutdown. Abortion (or so called planned parenthood) is one of the issues that are on the table......stand your gound House. We are spending millions of dollars every year to kill unborn children and because of someones mistake. No longer. We will suffer the cost of this shutdown and will come out ok in the end. So if shutdown happens over abortion, so be it. Don't back have come too far conservatives. And yes this shutdown will affect me directly but so be it if a few extra days will persuade the democrats to stop paying for people not being able to keep their legs crossed.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ruby

    I keep hearing about a government shut down but the only people I have heard about being shut down is out military pay. So maybe congress should give up their pay since they are the one who can't make up their minds. I'm sure that they can pass a bill for that. It is all just a mess.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKCM (Retired)

      Ruby> The reason you are hearing about the Military is...Civilian pay has a 10 day delay...between when it is earned and paid. That is why you are not hearing from civilians yet. Military is always paid to date. An example Military Pay is computed about 7 days in advance. Therefore, Thursday, Military pay was computed with 8 days of pay for the payday for 15 April. Congress can still fix the Military pay check if DOD gets funding on or before 12 April.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    Amy, please keep your own legs crossed as tightly as you please.
    It's neither your business nor anybody else's if a woman chooses to abort a fetus.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just saying.....

      Then the aborter can pay. Or someone who wants to pay for an abortion. I want to keep my purse strings shut when it comes to PP. They only provide services that are duplicated elsewhere.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Amy

    It is wrong. But, Americans shouldn't have to pay for others poor decisions.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Amy

    It is my business because we are all paying for it.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Budget Analyst

    Well...none of us fat lazy overpaid government employees should panic. Carine, not sure which department you are with, but the pay period ends tomorrow and we will get paid next Friday for the full PP. As for the shut down, if it doesn't last more than two weeks (the next pay period) we will still get paid on the 29th. Most likely back pay too.

    As for Demeatrice, I am retired AF, but worked financial management for 20 years particularly in the Military Pay office. It is possible that payroll payments could be split into two electronic deposits or checks, but the total amount normally paid on the 15th will not be affected. I suggest you contact your supervisor and/or first sergeant or call your local finance office.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • military wife

      Budget Analyst,

      I am the wife a soldier deployed in Afghanistan and prior AF myself. As of this morning when the LES (pay stub) was put in the system their paycheck was half of their usual pay. The description that was given for the pay cut was a "debt " that incurred on 7 April 11. If this is resolved by 12 April they will receive a full paycheck if not it will be half pay until it is resolved.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarineGurl

      Sorry but we are living this situation and we are currently only guaranteed to receive half pay on the 15th (per DFAS) and the rest who knows when (all dependent on when the idiots in Washington pull their heads out of their rears). So yes we will EVENTUALLY get paid but that in no way helps my family who is living overseas right now.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Budget Analyst

      Yes, my last post should have included "If the CRA or defense authorizaton is passed this wekend"...payroll payments could be split into two electronic deposits or checks, but the total amount normally paid on the 15th will not be affected. I forgot the CRA qualifier.

      Bottom line is all military will receive their pay. When is the question? When the CRA or defense bill is passed. We went through this in 1995 and the finance office was crazy with customers.

      Word in our directorate is something should be done by Monday, so hopefully you will be okay.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Budget Analyst

      FYI and further clarification from DFAS:

      If a CRA or appropriation is not passed before April 15, military members will be paid on April 15 for the period of April 1-8, approximately one half their normal mid month pay.

      If a CRA or appropriation is passed by Tuesday, April 12, military members will receive their full pay for duty served from April 1-15 on April 15.

      If a CRA or appropriation is not until after April 12, DFAS will pay military members for the period of April 9-15 within 3 days of an appropriation or CRA being passed.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • military wife

      Budget Analyst,

      Thank you for the correction. Too many are getting it wrong and assuming military IS getting paid as you stated earlier. When in fact the spouses of those deployed and military members across the nation have viewed the LES and know what the outcome is for now all we can do is pray this is resolved soon and possibly before the 12th. My prayers are with our nation and our government regardless of whom the blame is put on it doesn't change the situation. Prayers for the nation, our government and our troops at home and overseas.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    Pray on it.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    You and I might agree that it's cheaper to pay for an abortion than to support a child and its mother on welfare.
    That's the money side of the question.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    Some of my very conservative and rational replies were not published.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey

    I strongly support national defense.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. A. Stewart

    i was wondering why their was a CNN van next to chicken express earlier when i was in town, now i know, its really a shame that she may not be able to open her restaurant, Justin could use a taco place

    April 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    How good are that chain's tacos?

    April 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Its more like who is going to have money to get a taco anyway ?! :o)

      April 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mart

      All this talks about tacos is making me hungry 🙂

      April 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sandy

    Our soldiers should be the first ones to be paid in full , period !!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. grimm

    this is crazy what about the ex president still being taken cared of by the gov and how can u expect the troops to stay over there and risk their lives and wont get and their families wont be taken cared of and plus if any of the troops get killded during this shutdown the families wont receive death benefits .

    April 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
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