Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe says he expects the number of state employees furloughed because of the federal government shutdown to rise to more than 1,400 next week. Speaking to reporters Friday, Beebe vented frustration with Congress over the shutdown that so far has idled hundreds of state employees.
“We anticipate that as of Monday we will have 1,460 aggregate federally paid employees that are laid off. Now having said that, there are a couple of areas where we’re absolutely having to pay state money in critical areas for our protection, certainly the National Guard comes to mind.”
Beebe said the Fort Smith airport was nearly closed because the National Guard could not provide fire safety services to the facility, which is a requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration. Beebe emphasized that no state revenue has been lost. He said only state jobs paid for with federal funds are those in danger.
While sounding his frustration with lawmakers in Washington, Beebe tried to dispel any notion that the state was at fault in furloughing more employees.
“The jobs that being lost are being lost because they are sometimes state jobs—and certainly there are federal jobs—that are being paid for with federal funds. It’s the federal shutdown. It’s Washington. If I can say it again, I’m going to say it again. It’s Washington that has caused this mess,” he said.