Edward Seidenberg

Interim Director and Librarian

TSLAC Operational Plans for Federal Government Shutdown

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 • Austin, TX • News Release

In response to the Governor's letter of September 26, 2013, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides the requested operational plan in the event of a shutdown of the federal government. (Copies of both documents are attached to this webpage.)

The agency will continue to perform its duties to serve the citizens of Texas. We plan to maintain operations and ensure continuation of essential functions and services to Texans. Our funding priorities are for those services most critical to the health, welfare, and safety of Texans.

The agency will first use existing budget transfer authority to continue service if federal funding is curtailed during a shutdown.

Our contingency operational plans for possible federal government shutdown are based on the assumption that a shutdown will be of relatively short duration, not to exceed 30 days.

We have reached out to our federal agency counterparts and requested guidance on how to handle any federal funds we receive or federal programs we administer that would be affected by the failure of Congress to approve a funding resolution that continues government appropriations. We have asked for written clarification regarding whether the state may be reimbursed once federal funding resumes for the costs for federal programs charged to state funds during any shutdown. On September 27, we were informed "In the case of an extended funding hiatus (one that exceeds a week), IMLS may process payments to a State Library Administrative Agency from previously obligated awards on a very limited basis."

On September 23, we provided the Governor's Office a list of services that might be temporarily disrupted:

  1. Inability to draw down federal funds. We are waiting to hear further details from our federal agency. The longer the shutdown continues, the greater the problem, as liabilities coming due as well as 10 federally funded staff. We recently submitted a request to draw down more than $3.5 million of federal funds we expect to need in the next 30-45 days, including for the payroll period ending October 31 as well as other vendor and grantee payments. If necessary, we have sufficient general revenue funds that we could use to make the November 30 payroll.
  2. Some services to Talking Book customers will be degraded if the National Library Service of the Library of Congress stops sending out new books and magazines. They have already turned off the BARD download site. Our supply of playback devices and batteries should get us through 6 months. There is no direct impact on agency operations.
  3. There may be state agencies that pay for records storage with federal funds. Receivable payments from these agencies may be delayed, but this probably would be an insignificant impact on agency operations during the near term future.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide the state leadership with a copy of our operational plan in the event of a shutdown of the federal government.