Footnotes to the shutdown: The GOP sends an email to state workers

They may not be speaking to the press about negotiations, but the Republican leadership made an attempt for the hearts and minds of state workers today with a mass email signed by Kurt Zellers and Amy Koch. Here it is:

Dear Valued State Employee:
As Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate, we want to personally let you know that we do not want a government shutdown. Our best opportunity for resolution is in the next 72 hours. This is a serious time for you, for us and for our state.
The budget that passed the Minnesota Legislature in May spent $34 billion. It represents a 12% increase over the $30 billion this same tax structure brought in for the past two years.  If we include the $2.3 billion of federal stimulus dollars that supplemented our current budget during the recession, this $34 billion budget represents a 6% increase in spending. All without raising taxes.
The governor vetoed all but the agriculture budget. He originally wanted to spend $37 billion, and later revised his budget. However, he has yet to provide key details for each part of that budget.
Since the governor vetoed the Legislatures budget bills, we have made three substantive compromises. We funded K-12 education, public safety and courts at the governors requested levels; withdrew our request for tax cuts; and allocated additional resources to higher education, environment, and flood and disaster relief. All were rejected by Governor Dayton.
We also asked to be called to special session — something only the governor can do — so that we can pass bills and avoid an unfortunate, unnecessary and potentially costly shutdown. The Governor has said he will not call a special session.
We, like you, know what it is like to sit around the kitchen table, pay the bills and balance our household budget. We know that our balanced budget includes difficult decisions for state agencies. But you can be sure about one thing: Our budget keeps state agencies open on July 1 and state employees will continue getting paychecks beyond June 30.
We agree with the Pioneer Press editorial from Sunday, June 26 that characterized Governor Daytons negotiations as This is not a compromise. This is hostage taking.  Governor Dayton promised as a candidate to not shut down government, and he reiterated that pledge during his State of the State Address this year.
We take him at his word, and we will work everyday to help him keep it. We remain resolved to working with Governor Dayton to complete the state budget by June 30 and to keep state government open.
Speaker Kurt Zellers
Majority Leader Amy Koch

Update: Furious state employee responds to GOP email

Other footnotes to the shutdown:

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/27/2011 - 01:02 pm.

    …Our budget keeps state agencies open on July 1 and state employees will continue getting paychecks beyond June 30….

    change that to:

    Our budget keeps state agencies open on July 1 and 15% fewer state employees will continue getting paychecks beyond June 30.

  2. Submitted by T J Simplot on 06/27/2011 - 01:23 pm.

    If both parties spent as much time negotiating as they did in blaming each other, there would be agreement on the budget.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 06/27/2011 - 01:29 pm.

    I hope that campaign letter wasn’t done with any state resources.

  4. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 06/27/2011 - 01:47 pm.

    Usually the mea culpa comes after the sin, why would Zellers and Koch prostrate themselves now unless they intend to sin…

    Bless me father for I have sinned, the rock I threw belonged to the other guy.

    Well, they can always expunge.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  5. Submitted by Michael Bowler on 06/27/2011 - 01:55 pm.

    I knew the Republicans couldn’t keep silent and would go after Dayton. So much for cooperative negotiations behind closed doors. The governor has compromised, suggested a mediator, tried closed door negotiations. And now we are back to Republican antics with 4 days left before shutdown!

  6. Submitted by John Olson on 06/27/2011 - 02:02 pm.

    Mrs. O. and I do not have the luxury of arguing over the kitchen table about the budget for five months. And still not get anything resolved.

  7. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/27/2011 - 02:14 pm.

    Spin directly to the workers! How clever!! Not to mention BS. “We made concessions! We funded K-12!” That’s like when I babysat a pair of clever boys and told them not to play in the street. They played in a different street and claimed that I had not told them not to play in THAT street. I hope no one is dumb enough to play the word game with them.

  8. Submitted by Patrick Wells on 06/27/2011 - 02:24 pm.

    I am confused by the rhetoric. When the Republicans say a 6% increase in spending, do they adjust the 6% for the effect of the school aids money accounting shift by Pawlenty?

    My understanding is that the school aids money ought to have been spent in the last budget, but it was shifted ahead by Pawlenty to this budget. That shift would only benefit the prior budget by lowering the expense because the money was not paid. Going forward the school aids must be paid each year, essentially running a year behind as a result of the shift.

    Besides, the school aids confusion. I really would like to know why the budget is increasing, if it is. Are we serving more people? Do we have more programs … or what?

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/27/2011 - 02:30 pm.

    Without some willingness to move on the 34 billion dollar figure on the part of the Republicans, there is no reason to negotiate.

  10. Submitted by David Beimers on 06/27/2011 - 02:58 pm.

    That’s right, as a state employee (and MNSCU faculty member), I should THANK Speaker Zellers and Majority Leader Koch for wanting to slash the MNSCU budget by 14%. If the Governor would just concede that we don’t have enough money for higher ed and agree to the legislature’s budget, everything would be fine (until the next round of layoff notices). Maybe as an alum of SCSU, Majority Leader Koch could identify where specifically SCSU should carve out the 14% of their budget.

  11. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 06/27/2011 - 04:15 pm.

    Dear state workers, we’re not at all like those Republicans in other states who are demonizing public workers and taking their rights away. You can trust us! We’re completely different from them!

    In the sense of they don’t have to deal with a Democratic governor.

  12. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 06/27/2011 - 04:46 pm.

    Wow. Valued State worker. We have one of the leanest state work forces in the nation and the GOP’s top agenda is to make it even smaller.

    If they were honest, it would read:

    Dear state workers, we don’t need you.

  13. Submitted by Wayne Swickley on 06/27/2011 - 06:46 pm.

    “… we do not want a government shutdown.”


    Please see Ramsey County Second District Court filing 62-CV-11-5203,


  14. Submitted by will lynott on 06/27/2011 - 07:11 pm.

    A partisan appeal to the public employees they spend so much time demonizing. Revolting. I think Zellers forgot to mention the 15% cut in state staffing his budget would require. His use of state time and resources probably constitutes an ethical violation as well.

    Does he care? Do the little birdies fly north in the winter?

    Every time I think they can’t stoop any lower, they make a liar out of me.

    If they think state employees are going to abandon the Governor, I have two words for them: Dream On….

  15. Submitted by Kimbers Cadieux on 06/28/2011 - 06:56 am.

    I’m wondering why (and how) Zellers and Koch even have access to an email list that includes ALL state workers.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/28/2011 - 08:04 am.


    //I am confused by the rhetoric…

    It’s literally Enron accounting. A Decrease is an increase. If we were accept the Republican budget we would end up like Enron… we’re already half way there.

    I think one thing that everyone need remember in addition to this years fiasco is that this “all cuts” budget comes on top of 8 years of previous cuts, so the effect here cumulative. We’ve already cut the government work force by 5 thousand, and now they want to cut another 6 thousand. They already the transportation budget, now they want another 85% cut. They’ve already cut health and human services; now they want to cut it more and ask kids in wheel chairs to come ups with another $350 a year instead of asking the top 2$% to pay $200 a year.

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/28/2011 - 08:10 am.

    One thing about the Republican strategy is throws so much BS at you it’s hard to keep track. Another thing to remember about this Republican budget is at it’s very heart it’s derived from bogus numbers. Remember these numbers are based unseen calculations from private accountants that were dramatically different from the state budget office, the Republicans never did fix or change that. These number of theirs are completely unreliable and would result in perpetual budget crises. Remember when Pawlenty ran around telling people we had a surplus? Hell, he’s still telling people we HAVE a surplus. As the fuzzy methodology and accounting to the ideological blindness and outright lies and you recipe for implosion.

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