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
Other footnotes to the shutdown:
- Dayton told us how many he’d keep, but how many will be left behind?
- Read the layoff notice
- See the flyers some union members are being asked to hand out
- Read Mark Dayton’s June 15 email to state employees
Keep reading! The Intelligencer covers the shutdown:
- Furious state employee responds to GOP email
- State sends 582,000 letters to its most vulnerable: We may not be there to help you
- A dispatch from the front lines: As the shutdown approaches, chaos reigns
- State employees speak: ‘When something shuts down, it shuts down’
- The waiting game: What state employees are doing at home to prepare for the shutdown
- Are you a state employee bracing for a shutdown?