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1530342 tn?1405016490

Some noticeable casualties after Minn. shutdown


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's state government is closed for business.

It shut down at 12:01 a.m. CDT Friday, the victim of an ongoing dispute over taxes and spending between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative majorities. Talks fell apart well before the deadline, leaving state parks closed on the brink of the Fourth of July weekend, putting road projects at a standstill and forcing thousands of state worker layoffs.

Even before the final failure, officials padlocked highway rest areas and state parks, herding campers out. The full impact will hit Friday morning as thousands of laid-off state employees stay home until further notice and a wide array of services are suspended.

Critical functions such as state troopers, prison guards, the courts and disaster responses will continue. On Friday morning, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz will begin the court-appointed job of sifting through appeals from groups arguing in favor of continued government funding for particular programs.

Dayton addressed the looming shutdown at about 10 p.m. Thursday, emerging after a day of fitful negotiations with legislative Republicans to say the two sides were still fundamentally divided over how much the state should spend the next two years and that the shutdown was inevitable.

"This is a night of deep sorrow for me," Dayton said.

Republican lawmakers had been gathered at the Capitol for hours as they demanded that Dayton do what he had said for months he would not do: Call a special session so they could pass a "lights on" budget bill to keep government running. The governor insisted he would only agree to a total budget solution that incorporated the many facets of state spending.

"I think the governor's insistence that we pass a full budget is not going to be of much comfort to Minnesotans who are going to see delays on the highways because construction projects stop," said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo. "It's not going to comfort people who can't use our state parks, or who can't get a driver's license."

Officials in state parks had already started herding out campers Thursday, saying it would have been too difficult in the dead of night. Also Thursday, people rushed to get driver's and fishing licenses at offices and service centers that would be locked up by morning.

A stoppage in Minnesota will halt non-emergency road construction, shut the state zoo and Capitol, and stop child-care assistance for the poor. More than 40 state boards and agencies expect to go dark.

The shutdown in retrospect was something of a slow-motion disaster, with a new Democratic governor and new Republican legislative majorities at odds for months over how to eliminate a $5 billion state budget deficit. Dayton has been determined to raise taxes on high-earners to close the deficit, while Republicans insisted that it be closed only by cuts to state spending.

Even after the shutdown looked like a certainty, Dayton and Republicans did not soften their conflicting principles. Dayton said he campaigned and was elected on a promise not to make spending cuts to a level he called "draconian." He said he has been more flexible than Republicans in trying to compromise in order to acknowledge their principles.

"I've gone halfway, and I'm not going to go further," Dayton said.

Many Republicans have been equally firm. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, suggested Thursday night that Dayton had other motives.

"This is about shutting down government for a political purpose," Zellers said.

Republican Sen. Michelle Benson said earlier in the day she wouldn't budge on raising taxes or new revenue in any form.

"If we don't start taking a different approach to how we manage our government, we're going to swing from one bad economic circumstance to another," Benson said. "We can't just keep throwing more money at government and hoping that makes things better."

Dayton has proposed raising taxes on couples earning more than $300,000 and individuals making more than $180,000. He said Thursday night that he had offered to target the tax increase to even higher earners, those making more than $1 million a year.

Republicans have opposed any new taxes or new revenue sources, arguing instead that the state should rely on spending cuts, including deeper reductions in health and welfare spending than Dayton is willing to accept.

Some GOP moderates have talked of breaking the impasse with other means of raising revenue, such as eliminating tax breaks or authorizing a casino. Dayton has said he is open to such ideas.

After budget talks broke down Thursday night, neither Dayton nor Republicans gave any immediate indication of when or in what fashion they might continue.

Lawmakers faced the prospect of spending the holiday weekend at parades and events in their district, facing a public who can point to an oversized symbol of gridlock at the state Capitol. Some admitted that Dayton might have the upper hand politically.

"I personally think the Republicans will probably be more damaged than the governor" by the shutdown, said freshman Rep. Mike LeMieur, R-Little Falls, who toppled an incumbent Democrat in November. "The fact is that we're all up for re-election again next year, and he's not up for three years
16 Responses
1530342 tn?1405016490
It's only going to get worse!!
Avatar universal
I have family that lives there and other family that have property there and going out for the holiday break. LOL, I say shut her down! Funny, so do the family that lives there! People want less government? Well, hell leave it down and see what happens!
206807 tn?1331936184
I’m not that familiar with Minnesota. Does the State Parks get a lot of visitors during The Fourth of July Weekend? If so I think he jumped the gun on shutting them down. People on family vacations spend money, which helps the economy. Here the fees for State Parks here go directly to the State.
206807 tn?1331936184
"Here the fees for State Parks here" should have proof read
Avatar universal
Yes, state parks are shut down, visiters have been asked to leave. I believe they said something like 22thousand government workers were told to go home and not come back. Smart move on one of the biggest holidays of the year. STUPID~ But its the principal of the thing ya know! LOL,
Avatar universal
I'm not pointing fingers in this because both sides are guilty, but the governor said a mouthful when he said, "I've gone halfway and am not going to go any further".  I think he said the republicans aren't willing to go any further either..... there is the divide of this country again, rearing it's ugly head.

Nice to know that politicians are going half of the way.... FFS.  These people are too much, and these politicians had better not be getting a pay check during this shut down.... any of them and the governor is included.

Jesse Ventura was with the reform party when he got elected.  The state had a $4 billion surplus and when he left he left a $4-$4.5 deficit..... reform or transform????
206807 tn?1331936184

EGO, What a bunch of Morons. I'm so fed up
Avatar universal
Yep, Im fed up too and I seriously think we need to suspend all political officials without pay and use their wages to settle the problem. They ALL need reminded that WE are the ones who sign their paychecks! Fire em. All of um......
Avatar universal
Hmmmm, just got to thinking a little bit more about this.  When the stimulus package went out, the state of Minnesota got some funding for needed highway programs.  Where is that money in a time like this?  The article said they'd be holding back on highway projects.... who spent the federal money that was passed down, and where did it go?

This kind of goes back to my issues with accountability within government.  No offense to the President, but he offered more accountability and it's things like this where I'd like to see accountability.  (The system is too big and there are too many fingers in the pie, so to speak.)  I know that the President had good intentions when promising this....  "more transparency within government" is an oxymoron.  There's been so much mishandling of money, so much betrayal to the American people, so much aloofness amongst our elected officials... they can't become transparent now!  It'd ruin a lot of things for a lot of people within government.  The thing is too big and there are way too many people in order for transparency and accountability.....  I do think we have useless government programs and trumped up government entities... exposing them means losing more jobs and there isn't a president anywhere who wants to lose jobs in this economy.

I think the majority of Americans are fed up.  I think that the President had the best message for hope on the last campaign trail.  Some of what he professed he knew nothing about... (everyone does that on the campaign trail) but it is that promise of change that got him elected.

Pertaining to our nations situation, my grandfather had a saying...."you can put a **** in a tuxedo, but at the end of the day it is still a ****."  
306455 tn?1288862071
I don't understand what the problem is? Isn't this what so many want....less government running our lives?  I say give the people what they think they want,,,shut down all government across the whole US for a few months. Let the people govern themselves.

306455 tn?1288862071
If the Government is shut down/out of buss., do people need to pay taxes during this time period?
Avatar universal
The size of government has nothing to do with the debacle in Minnesota, other than the fact that they cannot trace who mismanaged funding.  Keep in mind, this is just at the state level.  

Looking around on gov.org, I found all kinds of interesting branches of government that I bet most of the country didn't even know existed.  For defense alone, I counted 19 different departments and that did not count the departments of the individual defense entities... Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard.

I found a whole bunch of fishy sounding departments, but I chose 2 to mention in this rant.  #1.  English Language Acquisition Office  #2.  Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences..... What the hell does either of these things mean?

I'd venture to say that most of us silly Americans thought that the FDA and one of its branches, the USDA looked after all food and drug related issues..... Wrong again, silly.  The FDA consists of numerous branches including but not limited too, Office of Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, Food Safety and Inspection, Research-Education and Economics, Risk Management Agency, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture... the list goes on, and almost each of the aforementioned has other departments.  Is it just me, but doesn't a lot of the above sound like the same thing just with another name?

And back to the English Language Acquisition Office... what the hell is that?  Isn't this America where English used to be the National Language?  Where does one acquire some English Language?  Schools perhaps???  That would be a different department though and lie somewhere in the Education Department.

Some people know this, but did you know that the Secret Service (they protect the President) is actually a department under the Department of the Treasury?  Yup.... go figure.  You certainly wouldn't want, oh... I don't know... the friggin military on that!!!!

Go to gov.org and make legitimacy out of every department listed there....
Avatar universal
I heard this morning that somewhere, the police department was laid off! Now were talkin! lol Less government! u got it! Better start packin! lol
Avatar universal
That could be my community!  In fact, there was a 50% reduction within the police force in our community!!! 50%, I mean... wow!  Were back down to 1 town officer and the county and state cops cover the rest.....

It would be interesting to find out where the community is that you're talking about, and also to find out what their infrastructure is like.
206807 tn?1331936184
If there was a 50% reduction here, the National Guard would have to take over.
Avatar universal

A texas town, laid off the whole kittenkaboodle! NICE!
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