Illinois tourism sites among least impacted by partial shutdown

SPRINGFIELD — With the partial federal government shutdown now two weeks old, Illinois is among the least impacted states.

Consumer finance research website WalletHub ranks Illinois the 11th least affected state from the partial shutdown, according to spokesperson Jill Gonzales.

“A lot of that comes down to just a smaller share of federal jobs, less federal contract dollars per capita, contractors are really one of the most affected here, and a lower percentage of families receiving [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dollars] or food stamps,” Gonzales said.

Neighboring states Missouri and Kentucky are higher on the list for being impacted because they have a higher percentage of people getting federal benefits like food stamps. While the USDA said food stamps will still go out through January, Business Insider reports there’s no guarantee for February.

Another reason Illinois is among the least impacted by the partial shutdown is because there aren’t many national parks in Illinois to be impacted. One that is closed is the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield.

The National Park Service website for the site says: “During the federal government shutdown, this website will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions. Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely. Some visitor services may be available when provided by concessioners or other entities. For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.”

Springfield city Tourism Director Scott Dahl said while they feel for the 30 employees at the closed site, there are more than 20 other historic sites and attractions operated by the state, city, or private sector that are open, some seven days a week.

“We’re open. Open for business, we are,” Dahl said. “Still come to Springfield, still have award-winning hotels, restaurants, and again, all but one site is open at this point.”

Among those sites are the old and new state capitols, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana Thomas House, interactive children’s museum Kidzeum, Illinois State Museum and the newly renovated Governor’s mansion.

Dahl said while there still is a lot of holiday hangover traveling for families, things would be much more dire if the feds were to shut down the Lincoln Home site in the spring or summer.

Gonzales said the federal shutdown also impacts federal law enforcement jobs, Internal Revenue Service workers or even those who may work for NASA.

The publication Governing estimates about 6,200 employees from nine federal agencies are in Illinois. About 2,500 of the non-essential employees are estimated to be furloughed.

The federal agencies impacted are the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice, according to the publication Government Executive.

Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump are expected to meet again Friday to discuss Trump’s insistence on border wall funding as a national security issue in exchange for appropriations to fund various functions of the federal government.

The 116th Congress was seated Thursday where the new Democratic majority in the House is expected to pass a series of funding bills that doesn’t include border wall funding. That’s not expected to go anywhere in the U.S. Senate, which signals the shutdown could last longer.


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