LAS VEGAS (AP) — A week into the partial shutdown of the federal government, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is warning that the state cannot afford to pick up the slack.
During an open cabinet meeting Tuesday, the Republican governor discussed the possibility that Nevadans will lose their food stamps and unemployment benefits if the federal government remains on ice through November.
Sandoval said all federal services are important, and he dreads having to pick among women, children and the unemployed. He added that he did not want to cause panic, but only help Nevadans prepare.
“Time is short. We have hundreds of thousands of Nevadans facing real consequences. The first of the month is right around the corner,” he said.
Those who lose benefits would have to turn to food banks, which might run out of resources, said Mike Willden, director of the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 400,000 Nevadans benefit from the food stamp program.
The state has been drawing on emergency funds to keep some federally-funded programs running, but the state will not be able to fill in funding in the long term, according to budget director Jeff Mohlenkamp.
“Some of these programs are digging a hole that I don’t have a way out of,” Mohlenkamp said.
Other effects from the government freeze are rippling across Nevada. Motorboats barred from cruising Lake Mead due to the shutdown took to the dry land of the Las Vegas Strip last weekend in protest. And Justice Department lawyers are citing the shutdown in asking for a stay in a legal battle with wild horse advocates over hundreds of mustangs gathered from a wildlife refuge on the Nevada-Oregon line.
On the first day of the shutdown, Sandoval issued a statement saying recipients of unemployment benefits and food stamps should not see disruptions in benefits.
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