ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - With a looming shutdown at Los Alamos National Lab, the community is warning the effects will mean less spending at stores, restaurants and local attractions.
The city of Albuquerque is bracing, too, because of a pending shutdown of Sandia National Labs.
On Tuesday, Sandia announced to employees the lab may close later this month if the government does not negotiate a budget.
In less than two weeks, 9,500 employees there could be furloughed and the rest of Albuquerque is bound to feel the effects.
“This is miserable news for our business community and our community at large,” said Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce president Terri Cole. “Sandia National Labs is a huge employer.”
Lab employees could be furloughed Oct. 21 and Cole says that could have a major spillover into the streets.
“The paychecks that come out of Sandia National Labs are paychecks that go to all of our local businesses for products and services in this city and state,” Cole said.
Many of those businesses can be found along Gibson east of San Mateo, like Twisters. An employee tells us they rely heavily on Kirtland and Sandia National Labs to fill their seats.
“On Sundays, we get a lot of military that come in, big groups of them,” Carlos Padilla with Twisters said. “I think it will affect our business around here.
Over at Pizza 9, employees are trying to stay optimistic.
“I would just hope we get back on track,” Lawrence Frey said.
With so many New Mexicans directly affected and now independent business owners caught in the crosshairs, the Chamber of Commerce predicts things could get ugly on an even bigger scale.
“When you combine that, were talking about affecting the lives, the paychecks and the economy of not only Albuquerque, but the state of New Mexico in a huge way,” Cole said.
Between Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, as many as 18,000 people could be furloughed.
Sandia’s president says if there is a shutdown, he expects it to be short one. Los Alamos National Lab will hold a meeting with its employees at 10 a.m. Thursday.
President Barack Obama met with House Democrats Wednesday afternoon and is expected to meet with Republicans later this week. Both sides are still at odds over funding for the Affordable Health Care act and how to handle the debt ceiling.
Dean Staley and Mark Ronchetti with your evening headlines and forecast.
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