AUSTIN -- More than 1,500 miles from the nation's capital, many in Austin are already noticing the effects of the partial government shutdown that began as the clock struck midnight in the U.S. Congress.
Would-be customers cautiously approached the darkened Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Taxpayer Assistance Center in Northeast Austin Tuesday morning, only to find it locked up tight. The sign on the door tells the story: "In the event of a government shutdown, this office will be closed."
"I've applied for my citizenship, and one of the things you have to do is to pay all your taxes," said Mubaric Alli, a taxi driver and small business owner who was startled to find the office closed. With a critical step in the process coming up next week, Alli told KVUE he was concerned the shutdown could have a major effect on his journey towards citizenship.
Austin resident Erica Vega told KVUE she was notified she owed thousands of dollars to the government. Shocked and suspecting identity theft, she showed up Tuesday looking for answers that will now have to wait.
"We weren't even aware of this until it came in the mail," explained Vega. "Then we come up here and we're trying to figure this out, and now everything's shut down. How are we supposed to fix these issues?"
Across town at the IRS' Southeast Austin campus, the parking lot was empty. The local chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) estimates more than 3,000 Austin IRS workers are stuck at home, waiting to find out when they can come back to work.
One of the most prominent landmarks on the University of Texas Campus, the giant banner topping the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, beckons visitors and travelers along Interstate 35 to "see LBJ in a whole new way."
For now that will have to wait until another day.
"You've got to be kidding me!" lamented a group of travelers just in from San Diego, who arrived only to find another sign declaring the building closed due to the government shutdown. "What are we going to do now? We thought we'd spend most of the morning, afternoon here at the museum!"
"We thought about it might be closed, but yep we were right," said Mark Buschena, leading a group of visitors from North Dakota to the library Tuesday afternoon. "Well I don't know what we're going to do now for the next rest of the day, but I'm sure in Austin we'll find something."
For those out of work, there's little to do but wait and hope the signs in Washington point to the signs here coming down soon.
For more on how the shutdown will affect the Austin area go here.