SALT LAKE CITY — One of Utah's congressional representatives is proposing a bill to help the next time the federal government shuts down.
According to the governor's office, Utah took a $30 million hit during the shutdown this month. Ruby's Inn near Zion National Park estimates it lost $2 million alone. Rep. Chris Stewart's Provide Access and Retain Continuity (PARC) Act would let states immediately fund and operate national parks, monuments and facilities in case of a future shutdown.
"The tourism, mining, timber and transportation industries lost millions of dollars each day that the government was shut down," Stewart said. "That's absolutely crushing to communities that rely on these industries. The PARC Act would ensure that an agreement is in place to allow states to quickly continue funding and operating federal facilities and programs that are vital to their economies, if they so choose. There is no reason that hardworking American families and communities should be punished due to circumstances over which they have no control."
It allows the state to immediately step in, for there to be agreements to be in place that if a shutdown occurs — within hours the state is taking over certain responsibilities and essential activities.
Of course, he doesn't want to see another shutdown — but it has happened in the past and could happen again. Stewart said this bill takes away the uncertainty.
"It allows the state to immediately step in, for there to be agreements to be in place that if a shutdown occurs — within hours the state is taking over certain responsibilities and essential activities."
Utah was finally able to re-open the national parks with state money on the 12th day of the government shutdown. Stewart wants that to be a quicker process in the future.
"In that case, let's have some process in place that protects people in rural and vulnerable parts of our district, our state and even our nation."