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Conservative group's 'counter' offers its take on cost of shutdown

Want to watch the conservative version of state dollars flittering away, in real time, as the state shutdown continues to sideline state workers and and many private employees who are connected to state projects?

The Minnesota Majority set up a counter on its website, showing its calculation of the dollars flying by.

It's about $100 per second, according to the group's calculations. They say they're counting unemployment and insurance benefits for idled state employees, uncollected audits and commuter revenue, lottery income, other uncollected revenues and the costs of shutting down and restarting construction projects.

Said the group's president, Jeff Davis, in a statement:

“It seems counter-intuitive and a lot of people just don’t realize that the shutdown is actually costing Minnesotans a lot of money. There’s nothing positive about a prolonged shutdown and our shutdown cost clock is designed to present one of the consequences in a way that’s easy to understand at a glance.”

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Comments (4)

Not that I really expect objectivity from anyone at this point, but "Governor Dayton's Shutdown"? How about just Minnesota State Shutdown?

The Minnesota Majority, like so many other players in the shutdown game, discloses only the numbers it wants its audience to see. Consider these claims:

Key Facts
The Current Budget Dispute

•$30.1 billion state dollars were allocated to Minnesota’s GENERAL FUND BUDGET for the 2010-2011 biennium.

•In the 2011 session, the Minnesota state legislature passed a GENERAL FUND BUDGET totaling $34 billion for the 2012-2013 biennium.

•The new budget represents a 12% increase in state spending and the largest budget in Minnesota’s history.

•Governor Dayton vetoed the legislature’s balanced budget, demanding tax increases to fund even more state spending.

http://www.stateshutdown.com/key-facts/

The reality is that Minnesota's total spending for the 2010-11 biennium was $59.970 billion, even after Gov. Pawlenty's unilateral action in July, 2009.

http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/doc/budget/report-pie/all-july09.pdf

You'll find both the sources of those funds and the categories in which they were spent at the same address.

$5.5 billion of that money came from "Other Spec Rev Funds / Transfers", including the education transfers. $19.6 billion was federal money, including the one-time stimulus funds. The general fund accounted for just under 50% of the state's total budget for the last biennium.

The federal stimulus funds are no more. The hole they filled in Pawlenty's last budget remains to be filled.

We still owe the school districts the money we promised them in 2010-11. That's part of the deficit we're facing and which both sides want to put off yet again. Hey, if we're not going to pay it, let's be honest about it so they can do what needs to be done at their end. Or, increase revenue (raise taxes) to pay what we owe.

Costs are up, whether for payroll, gas and oil, or other forms of energy, to name a few of the major categories. It takes as much asphalt today to patch holes in state highways as it took last year, and it costs more to do it.

With the downturn in the economy, demand for many state services is up while revenues are down.

By now, some are expecting me to say "increase revenues", "raise taxes"! Instead, I'll say this: Show the people EXACTLY where you'll cut expenditures. If you want to reduce the number of state employees, have the guts to say which ones, from which departments and performing or providing which serices. Don't simply cut the funds and tell the governor to make do, as the Legislature has proposed. That, as we said when I was a kid, is fowl excrement.

If you want to eliminate programs, tell the people EXACTLY which programs and which people will be affected. Own up to your choices and quit hiding behind simplistic claims that government has to live with what it takes in, without regard to the commitments we've made to our employees, our schools, our kids, our parents and ourselves.

When you've cut funding, don't let me hear you bitch about how long it took to get your license tabs, how dirty the restroom was at the rest area or state park, how you can never find a cop when you need one, etc. And don't scream when KMSP runs another supposed expose of the state's failure to properly inspect nursing homes, day care facilities or do the thousands of other things we expect from it each day.

Finally, quit talking as if government was something apart from the people. It's made up of people we elected and people we employ doing the things that those we elected agreed we would do. In other words, it's us. Keep Pogo in mind.

Slogans are easy; budgets are hard.

All that's needed to end this is for the Rs to pass our Governor's balanced budget.

The cost that should go to the top of the list is the compensation (and per diem) that goes to legislators (and their legislative aides)who are being paid for not doing what they were elected to do.