BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL – The and of the shutdown may’ve signaled back to work for thousands of federal employees.
And that paychecks will be issued next Tuesday for the those not paid.
But angst and concern about what’s ahead still are on the minds of Davis County folks.
“It was a kind of a ‘what’s going on in the world?’ kind of feeling,” said Annie Curry. She’s the owner of Granny Annie’s Family Restaurant & Banquet Center in Kaysivlle.
Two parties were cancelled for Hill AFB employees, Curry said.
The parties had been scheduled prior to the shutdown for retirements and reassignments.
Even after this shutdown ended, the mood isn’t one of peace and stability among her patrons, she said.
“We’ve just got to go day by day,” Curry said.
“We had two bills that would’ve extended the WIC program and unemployment benefits,” said Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, of the special session last week.
Media attention was focused on Utah’s ground breaking funding to re-open national parks.
“We had someone who was hunting in the Cache National Forest, who works for the Davis School District and lives in Davis County,” Adams said.
“The guy went up and pitched his tent. The morning after, he was scouting for elk, and someone came up to him and said you need to unpitch your tent,” the state senator said.
Adams is looking beyond the shutdown’s impact on so many people, hard as that was.
“We have $1.6 billion in our State Trust Lands,” he said. “Interest on that goes to our school community councils. We could make that 10 times more if we had control of our federal lands.
“The federal government can’t keep our national parks open. Utah has reserve funds it used to keep our national parks open. The federal government needs to let us manage those lands,” he said.
Utah has land experts say is full of oil shale and tar sand deposits Р but much of it is in federal control. The state has more land under federal ownership than all the states east of Colorado combined, Adams said.
“North Dakota’s economy is on fire. They have very little federal ground. They’re developing their resources,” he said.
That state has more jobs than people willing to fill them, Adams said.
“It’s too soon to tell the impact the shutdown had to unemployment numbers,” said Tyson Smith, Regional Economist with the Department of Workforce Services.
“Next month we’ll know,” he said. “The impact of the base is still big,” but significantly less than two or three decades ago.
As the county’s population has grown, its economy has diversified. The base and related businesses still employ as many or more people, but the overall impact to the county and its workforce is less, he said.
The shutdown is over for two-three months. The nation’s potential debt crisis has been averted, said Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.
“I know what we gained: the end of pain and misery for three weeks (during the shutdown). But now the Republicans are less likely to retake Congress next year,” he said.
But Weiler said the shutdown and debt crisis goes beyond political party.
“I think all we’ve done is kick the can down the road for three to four months. We’ll have the same debacle, and a threatened default in January,” the former Woods Cross city councilman said.
“I think it’s disgusting as a country that we are spending more money than we can afford. That’s reckless and unsustainable,” Weiler said.