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With the federal government shutdown over, area leaders may be breathing a sigh of relief. Still, they say, the nearly three-week federal government shutdown has cost local governments millions in lost tax revenue and devastated local businesses.
On Wednesday Mayor Vince Gray met with the leaders of Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties at the Wilson Building. The group, which featured Gray, Sharon Bulova, Rushern Baker and Isiah Leggett, held a joint conference where new numbers on the shutdown's effect were unveiled.
In D.C., Gray said, there was an eight percent drop in hotel bookings as many tourists decided to stay home with so many closed memorials and museums. In Fairfax, meanwhile, sales tax revenue nosedived, and Bulova expects a $25 million shortfall in the upcoming year's budget. For Montgomery County, home to 70,000 federal workers, the hit came to $500,000 a day in lost revenue.
Even a sliver of good news had a dark tinge to it: in D.C., the only revenue that increased came from alcohol taxes, said Gray.
The lost business and revenue had Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker shaking his head. "This is self-induced… that's the thing that gets all of us as we look around. We didn't have to have this, we didn't have to go through this process," he said.
The leaders say even if congress decides to compensate furloughed government employees with back pay, the damage—in terms of lost tax revenues—is already done.