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Dems Close Minn Rather Than Cut Spending

From a cheering Associated Press:

Some noticeable casualties after Minn. shutdown

By Martiga Lohn And Patrick Condon, Associated Press – Fri Jul 1, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. – 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.

Which should give the Minnesota legislature a pretty good idea of what can be cut.

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.

After all, it is clearly the role of judges to decide which programs should be funded or not.

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

In other words, Mr. Dayton would rather shut down the state than even consider any spending cuts. Luckily he is sorrowful about it.

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.

Think of all the poor children who are going to starve.

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

In other words, it is just another variation on the same old story. The Democrats want to increase taxes so that they can continue their reckless spending. And the Republicans are trying to stop them.

Dayton has proposed raising taxes on couples earning more than $300,000 and individuals making more than $180,000…

Because anyone making more than $180,000 is rich. And never mind that this would include just about every small business owner in the state.

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

Naturally. It is always the "GOP moderates" who can be counted on to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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.

That’s okay. According to a recent Harvard study, Democrats should avoid such Fourth Of July events, anyway.

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."

As usual, the AP found somebody to mouth the words they wanted said. It’s especially handy when it is a Republican.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, July 1st, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Dems Close Minn Rather Than Cut Spending”

  1. Liberals Demise

    “Dems Close Minn Rather Than Cut Spending”

    It seems to me that one forces the other.
    Closing Minn. cuts spending!

  2. Rusty Shackleford

    So, in other words, shutting down government saves money. Who’d’a thunk it?

    The democrats really ought to re-think their position here. When the citizens catch on, they will be putting the democrats out of a job, no?

  3. I have never understood why closing non-essential government services is considered bad.

  4. proreason

    Somehow, Minnesotta will limp along without the heartbeat of humanity…government services.

    Yes, the very essence of life will be ripped from Minesottans, but they well still grit their teeth and carry on in the face of adversity not seen since, well, since ever.

    Perhaps their courage and mind-boggling tenacity should be a lesson to us all.

  5. Dupree

    Whenever there is a budget crisis or whenever the idea of spending cuts comes up, this is how the government punishes the citizens. Dare to talk about cutting government spending, why, we’ll just close the parks and libraries! And on Independence Day weekend, no less! Sure, there a million other things we could cut, but these are the things YOU enjoy. You’ll feel this and we can blame Republicans! That will put you in your place citizen.




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