LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday that a federal government shutdown would result in furloughs for some state employees in Arkansas, though it wasn’t clear exactly how many.
Beebe said in a statement that as 2,000 state employees would be furloughed if Congress fails to reach an agreement averting a government shutdown at 11 p.m. Monday.
But the governor and state officials said at a news conference on Monday that they were uncertain of exactly how many state employees would be affected by a federal government shutdown. They said they were still seeking guidance from federal officials.
Beebe said state officials have been planning over the past several days on how to minimize the impact Arkansas would see from a shutdown, but said he didn’t plan on using state money to make up for the loss.
“The state is not in a position to, nor will we, bail out the federal government,” Beebe said at a news conference at the state Capitol. “We just don’t have the resources to be able to do it, nor is it our intention to do so.”
Beebe said that some state employees whose positions are partly funded by the federal government may be able to keep working, but the state may need to furlough others. For example, Beebe said that instead of furloughing workers who have 20 percent of their salaries paid for by federal funds, the state would furlough 20 percent of the federally funded workers in that office.
“You can’t divide a person 80-20, so you’ve got divide the total number of people 80-20,” Beebe said.
Beebe called a federal government shutdown “absolutely inexcusable.”
“That’s not what the founding fathers thought they were doing when they created this democracy,” Beebe said. “That’s not what the American people elected these folks for.”
State agencies planned to notify furloughed employees by the end of the day Monday, but said that many workers won’t know until Tuesday morning whether to come into work. Department of Human Services Director John Selig said the roughly 400 furloughed employees in his department will be told to go to a website Tuesday morning to see whether they should go to work that day.