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. Deploy soldier

    Is amazing how the 27th ammendment protects their pay, but if the goverment shutsdown nobody else get pay. They need to stop pointing fingers and blaming each other and get it solved. Why they wait so late? Is a political gama to show who got the power.
    At least the post office will be open so I can send my bills to the congress.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Amy

    Amen Sandy!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. grimm

    the troops and their families gets the worse of it all

    April 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Voice Teacher

    Blitzer just asked whether military families will get paid, and I can tell you that their paychecks have already been cut – some by HALF!! And now I have lost two military students that I was giving voice lessons to! This may not seem like a big deal, but I pay my bills based on my music students and each lesson is important so that I can pay my bills!!! The government needs to stop being so petty and stop trying to push for more abortion control through the general budget! This is a travesty and an embarrassment!!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Budget Analyst

      Again...don't panic. Just briefed by our director. All military will be paid in full to include back pay. Doesn't help if bills are due now, but the bottom line is military will be paid.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Voice Teacher

    If anyone should have their pay cut – it's congress!!! And no back pay!!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey

    Oh, what Harvard is turning out these days!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brenda

    Lets be proud of this country and work together to keep it strong for many gerations to come.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Linda

    There are millions of people who are living pay check to pay check, who have mortgages, tuition, some people who areare unable to save because gas is high as hell! That extra 50 Im putting in my tank would have went towards food to place on my table to feed my child, a bill, daycare ....but these buttheads sittin at a table disagreeing because someone doesn't cut planned parenthood, etc,....ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS NOVEMBER ELECTIONS ARE COMING AND I WANT THE REPUBS THE HELL OUT!

    April 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • gailp1967

      HELL YES !!!!!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    Sounds like a shutdown is an ingenious idea. Over 800,000 people will be directly affected. Not paid. Plus no extra costs for heating, electricity, etc. Seems to me the government will be saving 100 million dollars a week! Let's keep it shut down long enough to stash away enough cash so that there is no more budget problems! Hell, in 10 weeks that 1 Billion dollars. I say shut it down – don't pay em – ANYONE – and we will have no more financial worries. Heck, if you worked for a business that could not pay it's bills and had to close – you wouldn't get paid – same with our government employees. It's not their fault – but their choice to work for the government – hell – think of all the extras they get normally – call not getting paid retribution.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. teenamarie

    WHAT THE GOVERNMENT NEED TO DO IS TO BRING THESE TROOPS HOME WITH THEIR FAMILIES STOP THIS WAR LET THOSE PEOPLE CONTROL THEIR OWN COUNTRY AS AMERICANS WE NEED TO STOP DEPENDING ON THEIR RESOURCES
    AND GET OUR OWN. I AM BROKE, LIVING FROM PAY CHECK TO PAY CHECK PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IF YOU WANT
    TO SAY THIS COUNTRY CUT THE HOUSE SPEAKERS PAY, THE CONGRESS PAY AND EVERYBODY PAY IN THE SHOULD HAVE A TO STUGGLE

    April 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey

    teenamarie, I'm going to take your advice and get my own resources.
    I'm going to fill up my own oil well right in my own back yard!
    The hell with them and the camel they rode into town on!

    April 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dick Hertz

    Good reading. http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2011/apr/most-illegal-immigrant-families-collect-welfare

    April 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    leeintulsa
    6:42 PM
    A candidate for Bartlett's!

    April 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey

    That "joey" at 7:11 PM said something I would have said, but I didn't say it.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike the Plumber

    We should worry about our own problems in this country instead of spending our Trillions of Dollars in the other country.... The feds should realize that we have enough to worry about in our own Nation and Don't need to be a Solver (or Pretend!!) of everybody's problem in the world... I hope they will get that dream of realization... I did not VOTE for OBAMA for this...

    April 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
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