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. Larrys

    The 'gov' is only conerned about themselves. Congress will go on getting their paychecks so they don't care. I say suspend their pay for a few weeks and see if they can buy groceries, pay their cable bill, put gas in their cars and give their kids lunch money.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. obamayakyak

    so what CNN is saying is that we, the taxpayers, should underwrite this woman's "dreams". what about mine. working my ass off only to have the feds (primarily the democraps) rob me of my earning through their tax schemes.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ksh

    If the government shutdown keeps this mooch from receiving a million dollar loan, guaranteed by us, when she doesn't even have a job, then SHUT IT DOWN. Good grief.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OKBound12

    Hey i think she is taking a big risk and should get her shot. the feds need to stop playing politics with budgets and do what they were put there to do. i am a military servicemember who needs a full paycheck next friday

    April 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MR

    The budget has already affected the military!!! ALL California National Guard units which had drill this weekend, which are not mobilizing or demobilizing, has been canceled! Soldiers and their families budget for this money monthly. There was no option to have drill and be paid later for them!!! Simply unbelievable!!!!

    April 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HM

    This is the stupidest article I've ever read. Hire new writers.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dnags23

    So if the government shuts down, she doesn't get her taco stand? REALLY??

    April 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lumahaimike

    For weeks I have been hearing how good the economy is going.I guess the truth is many people are living paycheck to paycheck.I guess you just paint it the way you want it to look at the time for your veiw.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    I'm dying of Rectal cancer- Been bleeding for the last 3 months I paid into Social Security for almost 30 years, But now when I need Disability I'm Denied because " My Condition is NOT Serious Enough" Mr. President, All Members of Congress, Both Houses, ALL Parties- MY BLOOD is on YOUR Hands & on YOUR Heads.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ron Mo

    The Dems are are bunch of pansies just like their leader without go nads. The Dems has six months to pass the budget but couldn't find the go nads to pass the budget. Nancy "Plastic Face" Pelosi has more go nads than Pansie Reid.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The one & only

    Hold up why is it eevery time something goes wrong people blame Obama? That guy is not God so please leave him alone... ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY YOU KNOW! Second, why in the world is it that congress always wants to make budget cuts on health care and SSI but we never hear about them cutting back on what actors and sports players make? Maybe they should try doing that or maybe cutting back on what they make? Oh my mistake that is because they have let being rich corrupt their mind frame! Man I wish I could say there is hope but there isn't any left all I can say is people better learn how to pray because that is the only thing that is going to help.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tacos

      First, he's the president, buck stops here, he is a fair target of blame for this conversation, I don't agree but it is totally fair. Second, Serious?? Actors and Sports Stars... You do hear about this, it's called higher taxes on the rich. There are no other options because Congress has no authority over what they can be paid. (Was that a serious suggestion?) Finally, have a nice prayer.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jen

    Wow.... most of your comments made me sick. If she wants to open a business to better herself and her daughter i commend her... abortions... we dont know the case as to why one is having one and nor are we judges in a law of court deciding this. and last i knew it isnt illegal. and yes military is getting our checks cut in half, it sucks for me, my sister, and brother who all serve. but complaining about it isnt going to help the situation! we will get our money sooner or later. we may have willingly signed a contract but we also did this knowing we would be paid. im not worried the president knows how important it is to take care of us!

    April 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. L64

    So will this woman's taco stand be America's fruit cart?

    April 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tacos

      No, I'm not going to feel bad for someone that getting a million dollar loan. Odds are good the restaurant will fail given the statistics and the fact that she spent the last 15 years working for an investment firm. Oh I'll start a restaurant, no I'll make it a franchise chain, what innovation can I bring to the market, tacos!

      The fruit cart guy had no options, he set himself on fire. Her options ( as stated in the article ) is to get a more expensive piece of land – It may not have been in her business plan to do that, but since it's taken 16 months to make this business plan, I'm guessing it won't be the first change.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. L64

    Things that make you go hmmm...

    April 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. L64

    Yeah, they said only paper filing would be slow.

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