Reaction to Shutdown Deal

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Reaction to Shutdown Deal

There is no end of reaction to The Deal that ends The Shutdown. Rick Ungar, blogging for Forbes magazine, under a title that reads, “Minnesota Government To Re-open As Gov. Dayton Caves On Tax Increases,” says: “The agreement, which provides no new tax increases despite Dayton’s campaign promise that he would levy new income taxes as a critical element of solving the state’s budget gap, is being viewed by both sides as a compromise. The ‘give’ on the Republican side will include some $1.4 billion in new revenues but those revenues will be achieved by delaying payment of $700 million in state aid to public school districts while the remaining half will be raised by selling tobacco payment bonds. The GOP leadership also agreed to back off their effort to cut the state’s workforce by 15% and took a variety of conservative social policy changes off the table. Of course, these social policy changes had nothing to do with budgetary policy in the first place.”

Mark Guarino of the Christian Science Monitor calls around and then writes: “Republicans have not declared victory yet, which is evidence of the contentious relationship between the executive and legislative branches in the state. Tensions have only heightened since the arrival of the GOP’s freshmen class of lawmakers, the majority of whom have the backing of the tea party. Since the government shut down two weeks ago, both parties have managed to get together only twice to discuss compromise proposals offered by Dayton. Republicans rejected both offers, which could signal that they don’t view a government shutdown as necessarily a bad thing. ‘This is a prototypical tea party moment,’ says Steve Perry, managing editor of Politics in Minnesota in St. Paul. “A government shutdown isn’t a loss; it’s a win. For them, bringing the beast to its knees is a triumph.”

Mark Kelly, writing on the lefty FightBack!News site, says: “The framework agreement reached by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Republican politicians is a victory for big corporations and Minnesota’s wealthy. For the rest of us, it is a setback. It is the opposite of what a progressive solution to the state budget crisis should be. The Republican shutdown of state government appears to be ending with a Republican solution to the budget short fall — the burden of the crisis will be shifted onto the backs [of] poor and working people. Again. While the many of the specifics of the budget will be worked out over the next few days, the broad outline of what’s intended is clear. Governor Dayton decided to take one of the pre-shutdown Republican offers, which means that payments to school districts will be delayed and bonds will be issued for tobacco settlement money. Dayton abandoned the approach of taxing Minnesota’s rich — even though that is what he campaigned on and why he got elected.”

Edie Grossfield at the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports: “Local legislators had mixed reactions to Gov. Mark Dayton’s offer today to end a two-week government shutdown by accepting the Republicans’ last proposal to solve the state budget crisis. ‘I’m excited that we’ve gotten to a point where the governor saw value in our last offer,’ said Rep. Mike Benson, a Rochester Republican, who spoke Thursday afternoon on his cell phone from the Wabasha County Fair. … Rep. Kim Norton, a Democrat from Rochester, said she had mixed feelings about Dayton’s concession. She said Thursday’s offer to the GOP was his fourth since the government shutdown on July 1 and that this last offer was an example of Dayton as statesman.”

A story by Trish Volpe at KARE-TV says: “Dayton and DFL leaders may have a hard time convincing even their own people to accept this agreement. And GOP leaders may find it difficult to gain caucus support for an offer than keeps conservative policy changes out. ‘There will be conservative Republicans, especially social conservatives, who will be unhappy with Dayton’s proposals that certain provisions that are really non-budgetary be taken out of the spending bills and that will create problems for the Republican leaders and that will create problems for the Democrats too [who] will be very unhappy that a variety of social programs will receive less funding,’ [political analyst Steve] Smith said.”

The Strib editorializes: “Dayton’s antipathy for the approach GOP leaders first brought to him on June 29 is more than justified. This is a lousy way to keep public books in balance. It perpetuates an imbalance between state spending and revenues that has become chronic in the past decade, and heaps financial risk and borrowing costs upon the government service politicians profess to prize the most, K-12 education. The nation’s bond rating agencies are certain to scorn this move, and react accordingly. … If this is truly the best Dayton and Republican legislators can do, they should do it quickly and get the full state workforce back on the job. Then they should prepare answers to the tough questions they deserve to hear from an ill-served electorate. Is this how the current cast of capitol characters expects to continue to govern in 2012 and beyond?” If they are the same characters in 2012 and beyond, probably.

KAAL-TV, covering the Rochester area, wonders if something went on in Rochester during Dayton’s visit yesterday: “State Senator Dave Senjem, also of Rochester, had a private lunch with the governor after the Rochester meeting. He’s says we’ll likely never know for sure, but thinks a conversation he had with the governor over lunch may have had an [effect] as well. ‘We just talked about the good of the state and from my perspective … governor what does this accomplish? How are you going to be remembered? How are they going to remember Mark Dayton when they look at the picture in the capitol? They won’t remember us,’ said Senator Senjem. ‘They won’t remember the senate majority, the republican majority. They’ll remember the governor. So what do you want them to think?’ Almost all the other southeast Minnesota lawmakers were either already up in the capitol, out of town or unavailable for on camera interviews today. However Representative Rich Murray, of Albert Lea, says if both sides agree to the governor’s proposal, all we’re really doing is postponing the problem for another few years. ‘Right now, what we’re doing today, what this proposal is doing is kicking the can down the road. We’re not solving anything with this,’ said Representative Murray.”

Over at Finance & Commerce, Brian Johnson writes: “The inclusion of a $500 million bonding bill in a budget deal is good news to many in the construction industry who have been encouraging the state to pass such a bill to put people back on the job in Minnesota. Minnesota’s construction economy, as measured by job losses, has been among the nation’s worst. Minnesota lost 6,700 construction jobs between May 2010 and May 2011. The governor’s proposal ‘looks like something that should fly,’ said Phil Raines, vice president of public affairs for the Minnesota Associated Builders and Contractors, as he headed for the Capitol on Thursday.”

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen is applying the cosmetics. Sam Lane at The Minnesota Independent writes: “He noted Republicans have rejected seven budget compromises without offering any new ideas throughout the two-week shutdown. He said GOP legislators have ‘gone to incredible lengths’ to protect millionaires and corporate special interests. ‘By offering the Republicans their budget, Governor Dayton is rising above politics, above partisanship, and making Minnesota his top priority. It is now up to the Republicans to end this costly and destructive government shutdown by accepting and immediately passing this offer. The clock is ticking.’ ”

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by John Olson on 07/15/2011 - 06:21 am.

    This isn’t over yet. If enough DFLers peel off from the left side, and the far right-wing Republicans bail on their leadership, this whole “deal” *could* go down in flames and not have enough votes to get out of one or the other chamber. God help us all if that happens and we remain shut down.

    If the Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate (Sen. Thompson) is already saying he won’t vote for it unless the policy stuff is added, that is not a good sign. It calls into question whether Koch and Zellers *really* have the votes among their members to approve this deal or not.

  2. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/15/2011 - 07:33 am.

    There is an obvious opportunity for sabotage here. I certainly hope that it does not happen.

    K/Z need to provide an honest count to the governor before special session is called. Hope they are working on it. What about the not a penny more crowd? What about the Grovers?

    Most of the DFL will turn thumbs down but there are a few who will support it. Thissen and Bakk should also provide honest estimates.

    Let’s really get this done and not have another disaster.

    Bill Gleason

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/15/2011 - 07:36 am.

    The “winners”?

    Health Insurers–their higher bills will be paid,

    Financiers–more money will be borrowed,

    Plutocrats–protected by their minions from the slightest increase.

    Meanwhile, will one new job be created by this deal? I doubt it.

    Will the plutocrats step forward and create new jobs at a rate greater than the population increase? I doubt it, after all they’ve been asleep at the job-creation post for the last decade or so of record low tax rates.

    GOP = Minions of the Plutocrats

  4. Submitted by Howard Salute on 07/15/2011 - 08:31 am.

    The deal stinks! Balancing the budget by borrowing and deferring payments is wrong. But I do believe it is the best deal Dayton could get. I lean conservative, but Dayton has earned my vote because he is pragmatic and is willing to put the good of the sate above himself and his party.

  5. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 07/15/2011 - 08:46 am.

    The final result is: the Republicans wouldn’t let us solve the real, long-term budget problem. We still have the same inequitable system that is going to continue to leave us with an unstable funding until the Republicans face reality. Dayton essentially let them continue their own broken system by borrowing against the schools because it was the lesser of two evils.

    The legislature was sent to Saint Paul to manage our government and, thanks to the Republican leadership, they failed miserably.

  6. Submitted by Tim Walker on 07/15/2011 - 09:09 am.

    Dayton caved.

    But for noble reasons.

  7. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/15/2011 - 09:51 am.

    Ten years after Ventura laid the groundwork for this problem (then left the state), and after eight years of Pawlenty kicking the can down the road (then leaving the state), we get, from our Republican legislators TWO MORE YEARS OF THE SAME STUPIDITY!

    How many of them will be leaving the state they’ve worked so hard to damage and destroy, too, just as soon as they’re out of office?

    Despite the “MN Business Partnership”/Conservative Republican” promises of massive “job creation” and amazing new prosperity as the result of the Ventura-Moe-Swiggum tax cuts on the fabulously wealthy, NO SUCH THING has happened (not for regular folks, anyway).

    This deal will do nothing but continue Minnesota’s slide down the slimy slope toward the economic abyss as the physical, education, and social infrastructures necessary to rebuild our state’s economy are increasingly allowed to fall apart if not being purposefully dismantled.

    Even if the nation’s economy begins to recover in the coming months, this deal ensures that Minnesota’s economy will lag behind.

    If we’re lucky, the reality that the Norquistian, “Dark Lord,” policies which have been slavishly adhered to by the leadership of the Minnesota Republican Party at every level are responsible for our state’s economic slide and continuing downturn will finally have become clear to the general population,…

    and we’ll be able to remember what has happened over the previous 12 years, and use that knowledge as a “Patronus charm” to shield ourselves from the big money, B.S., “dementor” TV ads promising us “pie in the sky” prosperity if we’ll only make the rich EVEN RICHER, and cautioning us to “be terrified of Democrats” with which we’ll be inundated with, and elect people interested in reality-based government by the time fall of 2012 rolls around.

    If that’s the case we may finally elect people (Democrats and REAL Republicans) who are interested in returning to good old fashioned, Minnesota-style government that works for all of us, while rejecting what we’ve had over the past ten years and what we WILL have during this new biennium – government that does tremendous damage to the poor and middle class while protecting and massively enriching the already wealthy.

    Still, I fear their is one concern about which our Republican friends may turn out to have been accurate. Many of the fabulously wealthy WILL (inevitably) leave Minnesota, but NOT because of tax increases.

    They’ll leave just as soon as they’ve finished extracting as much of our incomes, property, assets, health care, and any hope we ever had of a comfortable retirement from the rest of us, and have, thereby managed to damage beyond recognition everything that made ANY OF US want to live here in the first place.

    No doubt, like Ventura and Pawlenty, they’ll then go off to find new places where people have spent long decades, giving of their time, their energy, their creativity, and their money to build states and cities that worked well, in order to strip those hard working people of everything thing they’ve built, sell off all the assets, tear it all down, then,…

    Swarm off like the plague of locusts they are, to yet other places where good, unsuspecting people can be hoodwinked into destroying everything they’ve worked so hard to build, all for the false promise that a very few of them might get rich in working such destruction.

    Perhaps it would be in our best interests, here in Minnesota, to institute policies which make it impossible for the wealthy to continue their economic war on the middle class, and, thereby, encourage those who want to tear Minnesota down in order to further enrich themselves instead of contributing to building it back up to leave the state.

    The sooner “the rich” about whom our Republican leaders are so concerned leave the state, the sooner we will ACTUALLY start to recover.

  8. Submitted by Steve Calvit on 07/15/2011 - 10:09 am.

    When I first read about the deal that ends the shutdown, I thought that Dayton and the DFL had capitulated and I was mad as hell. But then I read that Dayton was truly worried that someone might die as a result of not receiving services and I realized that the deal was done out of the realistic concern for others. It was Dayton’s compassion and sensitivity that made this deal happen.

    I think Dayton came to the realization about how heartless the Republican leadership is and that they had no conceptualization whatsoever (they don’t know what they don’t know) that there might be disabled people out there who could suffer or die from a lack of services. As a social worker, I know first hand that people were suffering from the shutdown and that lives were on the line.

    So, although I disagree with this “kick the can down the road” approach, Dayton did the honorable thing by ending this debacle and he deserves our forgiveness and support.He put the concerns for others above politics and Minnesota wins as a result.

  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/15/2011 - 11:51 am.

    Well said Mr. Salute.

  10. Submitted by B Maginnis on 07/15/2011 - 05:09 pm.

    Kappahn:

    “This deal will do nothing but continue Minnesota’s slide down the slimy slope toward the economic abyss as the physical, education, and social infrastructures necessary to rebuild our state’s economy are increasingly allowed to fall apart if not being purposefully dismantled”.

    Really?

    Earth to Greg – when business flees or fails to launch due to exorbitant taxation, and talent is reluctant to live here for the same reason, your fascination with “social infrstructures” becomes rather moot, no?

    This is a free market republic, not a gulag.

    We will keep it that way, and that means defeating the socialist agenda now extant in the Capital, both in St. Paul and Washington.

    If it can be done in Madison, it sure as all heck will get done here.

  11. Submitted by will lynott on 07/15/2011 - 08:12 pm.

    #10, repeating conservative talking points over and over does not make them any less false.

    There is not a shred of legitimate evidence for the “flight of the wealthy geese” notion. Specious sound bite, but nonsense.

    Oh, and keep your eye on Madison. That one’s not over yet, although the signs are good so far.

    If a wingnut bloviates fact-freely in a forest and there’s no one around to hear, is s/he still wrong?

  12. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/15/2011 - 08:40 pm.

    BD: “Exorbitant taxation?” Try “tax avoidance” for something closer to the truth. And if job creation was the goal of the Bush and Pawlenty tax cuts for the wealthy, it certainly didn’t seem to work, did it?

    Free market ideology taken to the extreme you seem to favor would give us a corporate state in which only the rich had power. On the other hand, a MIXED economy, with business free to exercise entrepreneurship and to build wealth and unions to protect the rights of workers, would give us a society that works for everyone.

    For business to succeed, we need a range of social spending to protect the poor, elderly and/or disabled from terrible suffering — as well as to provide educated, healthy workers for business, the infrastructure without which they cannot function, and the parks and walking paths and artistic amenities that a decent society needs.

    This is not socialism. It is pragmatism, and it works better than any “pure” system of either capitalism or socialism can.

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