Federal Shutdown Has Dire Impact on Local Government

Mayor Marie Lopez RogersMarie Lopez Rogers, mayor, Avondale, Arizona and President of the National League of Cities penned this Op-Ed. It appeared in the West Valley View on Friday, October 4, 2013. 

Every year, city governments are required to pass a balanced budget. This means taking a close look at our projected revenue and spending, and determining the top priorities to be funded. Even if they don’t always see eye to eye, local leaders make decisions with their community and their residents foremost in mind.  

I am calling on Congress to act like mayors and councilmembers, to put aside partisan differences and manufactured crises, and put an end to the federal government shutdown. The economic impacts of the shutdown are real, and the residents in our communities are bearing the brunt of it.

This week, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale announced furloughs for more than 400 employees. These are people who live in cities like Surprise, Avondale, Goodyear, Glendale and Phoenix, who are worrying about how they are going to have to make ends meet to support their families. In Avondale, we have only just started to see our local economy rebound after a painful recession which impacted very single resident and business in some way.  As a city, the challenges we faced during the economic downturn were met with hard choices and big sacrifices. Yet, we balanced the budget every year, making thoughtful decisions and concerted efforts to ensure that residents were impacted as little as possible. We’re on solid financial ground, yet, before we’ve even had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, we’ve had to watch the theatrics and listen to the rhetoric in unfolding Congress this past week. 

The antics in Washington are threatening to unravel the progress our cities have made over the last few months, and cause harm to the entire nation. It’s a reckless approach to governing.

Congress needs to understand that our country still faces real challenges: A broke immigration system, lackluster economic growth, and unemployment that’s still too high. These are the issues that should be the highest priority on the Washington agenda. Every day the government is shut down is another day of economic uncertainty. We need to focus on what matters – on our communities, our neighborhoods and our residents. I call upon you to act by contacting your Congress member by calling, emailing or using social media, to remind them that this shutdown is unnecessary and affects all of us.