Whitehall News

Whitehall thus far avoiding effects of government shutdown


It appears Whitehall will not lose any income-tax revenue following the closure of the federal government.

"I have high hopes we will not lose any additional money this year but still feel bad for those employees who aren't getting paid today," city auditor Dan Miller said Oct. 7 as the closure was in its seventh day.

Congress has yet to approve a spending plan and closed the government at midnight Oct. 1, but members of the U.S. House and Senate announced that affected employees would receive back pay after an agreement is reached.

If so, the net effect upon Whitehall would be as if the shutdown has never occurred, Miller said.

As of Oct. 7, Miller said, he was yet unaware how many employees, if any, were not receiving pay.

About 9,000 civilian and military personnel are employed at Defense Supply Center Columbus.

The shutdown began at midnight Oct. 1 after a deeply divided Congress and President Barack Obama could not agree on a spending budget, and the two parties remain divided about the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, that also plays a pivotal role in the impasse.

Because Whitehall receives about 65 percent of its annual income-tax receipts from DSCC employees, Whitehall is arguably more vulnerable than any other central Ohio municipality regarding decisions in Washington over the federal budget and staffing.

Miller estimates the city receives about $45,000 in income-tax withholding each day from employees at the base.

Michael Jones, a spokesman for Defense Logistics Agency, Land and Maritime, the largest of 22 installations at the DSCC base with about 3,400 military and civilian employees, said Oct. 2 that none of the DLA employees were immediately sent home.

The shutdown will affect each of the base's installations differently, Jones said.

Jones said operations at DSCC were not immediately affected, and resources are available for operations to continue for a short period of time.

"In about seven to 10 days (if there is no agreement), some major decisions will need to be made," Jones said.