BUSINESS

Government Shutdown 2013: Local businesses take a hit

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TYSONS CORNER, Va, (WJLA) - It should be a time of celebration for Mina Ebrahimi and her business, Saint Germain Catering in Tyson’s Corner, as she is set to open a new cupcake shop. But it isn’t – thanks to the dysfunction in D.C.

"It's awful...It really makes you feel handicapped because it's out of my control," she says.

According to Ebrahimi, business has dropped 30-percent since the shutdown began. Government agencies and contractors aren’t holding meetings and gatherings right now, which means workers here at the business are working less.

"It just makes you feel bad as a business owner that they're suffering as well," she says.

The shutdown, which came on top of a sequestration earlier this year, threatens to dramatically slow down business overall in places like Tysons, where vacancy rates for commercial real estate are higher than leaders would like. The same can be said for Arlington.

"The business community now is just stagnant," says Sharon Bulova, who is Chairwoman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She says businesses that work with the government don’t want to lease or expand, because they don’t know what will happen in Washington.

Many consumers facing furloughs are also spending less.

"If the company's not doing well, then I've got to back off -- just like the company has to back off." says one.

Sales tax revenue in Fairfax is down 6.5-percent from this time last year, with rates sure to rise as the shutdown drags on.

"This shouldn't be happening, and it really is the indecision of Congress and the actions that are not being taken," says Bulova.

Mina Ebrahami agrees, but believes governing from one crisis to another in D.C. is here to stay.

"I think this is the new normal, and I think it's gonna be this way for a long time."

Local government leaders say the longer this uncertainty in Washington continues, the greater the pain will be on a local level.

Less business and tax revenue, they say, will undoubtedly lead to budget cuts.

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