Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 4, 2011

Minnesota GOP “Kicks Can Down The Road” Over State Government Cuts

(All Minnesota’s GOP have done is “kicked the can” down the road for another few years. And the middle class and poor of that state will be paying for it…

Just like we will if the deficit debate goes the same way.)

Minn. governor signs budget, ends state shutdown

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new budget Wednesday, ending the nation’s longest state government shutdown in the past decade.

Dayton’s signature came just hours after lawmakers gave their own approval to the deal after meeting in special session that started Tuesday afternoon and lasted until early Wednesday morning. All sides formalized an agreement that Dayton struck with leading Republicans late last week.

The two sides argued bitterly over taxes and spending for months. When government shut down July 1, it closed state parks and rest stops, laid off 22,000 state employees, stopped road projects and much more.

The end to the shutdown began when Dayton moved last week to accept a borrowing plan offered by the GOP shortly before the stoppage began.

After signing the budget, Dayton said he was “not entirely happy” with it.

“It’s not what I wanted, but it’s the best option that was available and would be for any time,” he said. Dayton said the budget “gets Minnesota back to work.”

Details were still emerging Wednesday about how quickly state operations would restart. Dayton said he expected most state employees to be back on the job Thursday.

Jim Schowalter, the state’s budget commissioner, said it will take longer to restart some state agencies than others since some have continued partial operations during the shutdown. He predicted it would take weeks for agencies to work through paperwork backlogs, clean up parks and other sites and return to normal operations.

The state lost millions of dollars in the shutdown, including lost revenue from lottery sales, tax audits and state park fees, money spent preparing to shut down and the cost of unemployment and health benefits for laid-off workers. The full cost wasn’t expected to be known for some time because the workers who could calculate it weren’t on the job.

The budget was widely panned for setting up a new problem down the road. It borrows money from schools and from future payments on a legal settlement with tobacco companies to erase a $5 billion deficit through mid-2013. Republicans and Democrats have been at odds for years over how to address persistent deficits, with GOP leaders pushing for deeper spending cuts and Democrats arguing for new taxes.

Minnesota became a national example of political dysfunction, mirroring in miniature the partisan standoff in Washington over raising the debt ceiling. State leaders are more accustomed to being recognized for efficiency and innovation.

The end of the shutdown was a relief to Kim Leonhardt, owner of High Banks Resort on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota. When the state stopped issuing fishing licenses during the shutdown, she had to talk at least a dozen parties out of canceling. The resort wound up promising guests it would cover the costs of any tickets for fishing without a license.

Then Leonhardt found that the state-issued card that allows the resort to buy beer and liquor was about to expire, sending her into a panic and scrambling to stock up for a marathon shutdown. Despite all that, Leonardt said she didn’t blame one side more than the other.

“I guess I’m staying neutral on that. I’m glad to see that things are coming back on track,” she said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

The Jefferies Tube

Boldly Blogging Where Many Have Blogged Before...

Gypsy Nerds

Gett'n our travel on!

Dreams of Dark Angels

The blog of fantasy writer Storm Constantine

Passion with a Dark and Dangerous Twist

A site for romance and thriller author, Cassandre Dayne

H.J. Bradley

The world of an aspiring indie author.

Q13 FOX News

Seattle and Western Washington's source for breaking news, weather, and sports. Home of Washington’s Most Wanted and the Seattle Seahawks.

blindoggbooks

Author Tim Baker shares his thoughts, hopes and dreams. (mostly his thoughts)

Monica Enderle Pierce

Stories that stay with you.

Kait Nolan

Smart, sassy, small town Southern romance that makes you feel like home

Guild Of Dreams

Build Your World and They Will Come

Trent Lewin

Fiction, and other made-up stories

Wildhorse33's Blog

freeing the creative spirit

Here's To Us

Nerdiness Encouraged

%d bloggers like this: