Despite both sides’ certainty that they’re ‘right,’ Minnesotans will blame them all if shutdown happens

The only thing that is certain is that there will be finger-pointing if a shutdown does take place.

Republicans will try to blame Gov. Mark Dayton and DFLers for the looming shutdown. The governor and DFLers will try to blame Republicans.

But most of these same finger-pointing pols will understand that most mainstream Minnesotans will be angry at all of them for failing to take a relatively small step toward the compromise required to end this budget impasse.

That’s what this battle has come down to a biennial budget that would range from $34 billion (the Republican end point) to $35.8 billion (the governor’s desired goal).

Only the activists on either side say, “Don’t cave in!”

Fuming citizens will fault them all
Most Minnesotans will be fuming over the inconvenience, pain and expense that is sure to come with a shutdown.

Who’s at fault?

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, is convinced that his governor and party are holding the high moral ground. But he understands that the public might not be so willing to accept that belief.

Rep. Ryan Winkler
Rep. Ryan Winkler

“It’s like Israel and Palestine,” Winkler said. “It becomes so complex that people can’t figure out who’s right so they get mad at both sides.”

But that’s probably not fair, either.

Although it’s impossible to get past personal biases in making “who’s right?” judgments in this political/philosophical dispute, on the surface it appears that the governor has worked harder at compromise than Republicans.

Go back to the beginning of this session.

Dayton offended part of the DFL base by quickly signing off on a regulatory “streamlining” bill that cuts corners on environmental regulations for businesses looking to expand or build.

He followed that by signing off on an alternative teacher licensure bill that offended many in the teachers union, which also long has been part of the DFL base.

He also quickly gave in on his own initial budget, which included a wide swath of taxes.

All of these things were done in an effort to show Republicans, or at least the public, that Dayton understood he was working with a divided government and would need to compromise.

Even on his cherished “tax the rich” slogan of the campaign, Dayton has shown signs that he’s willing to compromise.

Yes, he repeatedly has said that he believes a tax increase on the 2 percent of the highest wage earners in the state is the best — and fairest — way to raise revenue. After all, the richest do pay a smaller percentage of their incomes on state taxes than the rest of us.

But for months, he also repeatedly has said that he would entertain any forms of new revenues that might be presented to him as a way to close a deal.

Barring a startling change in the political climate sometime today, it appears that Republican legislative leaders either have offered no new revenues or insufficient ones in those “cone of silence” meetings in the last few days.

‘New revenue’ a key issue
Interestingly, there are members of the Republican caucus who believe that there are alternatives to the income tax deal Dayton wants. Those alternatives include everything from fee increases to racinos to broadening the sales tax to placing a tax on every cocktail and beer sold in Minnesota.

Those options may not raise the $1.8 billion Dayton says he must have, but they might break the stalemate.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost/James Nord
Gov. Mark Dayton

It should be noted that Republicans claim — and, in some cases, may actually believe — they have compromised. Initially, recall, they campaigned on a pledge to hold the budget to $32 billion, and moved to $34 billion only after an improved economic forecast.

In recent weeks, they also say they have compromised by moving more money to K-12 and higher education. But, in fact, that’s been no compromise at all. They’ve merely upped the education antes by slicing more money from un-named sources (presumably already deeply cut Human Services).

Mostly, however, Republicans seem to have been tied to party ideology, which is a tough way to operate a divided government.

Even some of their members will very privately grumble that the party, not the individual senators and representatives, has the big voice in these negotiations. That’s especially true in the Senate, where the conservative voices speak loudest.

The clear signal that Republicans in the Senate weren’t going to be of a mind to compromise started shortly after the elections, when Dave Senjem, who had served as the Senate’s minority leader, was dumped as the chamber’s titular leader and replaced by the combo package of Amy Koch and Geoff Michel.

Senjem could rattle the rafters with pretty conservative oratory, but he also seemed to have more appreciation for making a deal and going home than the Koch/Michel team has shown.

From the beginning of the session, the new Republican leaders have put themselves in a difficult spot by insisting they would not move beyond what became the $34 billion total budget. (That amount, it should be noted, is less than the state spent in the previous biennium, because the previous biennium was pumped up by federal stimulus money and by “borrowing” money that was supposed to go to the state’s public schools.)

But all of that background is pretty nuanced — and most likely will be ignored by most Minnesotans who only will understand that the state government they pay for is closed. They will blame both sides.

DFLers, however, believe Dayton can withstand that heat more easily than Republicans.

All legislators stand for election in 2012, meaning voters can vent their anger at the polls then. Dayton won’t be running again until 2014, if he opts to run for a second turn.

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/30/2011 - 02:43 pm.

    I thought this was a really good piece.

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/shutdown/archive/2011/06/understand-the-state-budget-mess-in-3-minutes-1.shtml

  2. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 06/30/2011 - 02:31 pm.

    There will be a slice of people who are disgusted with both sides, but the majority will do as the commentators are: laying the blame at the Republican’s feet. It’s just too clean a narrative for the usual propaganda machine of the right to distort.

    The Gov has shown his willingness to go further than he or his base would like- both in passed legislation, and in offers regarding the budget. Those that haven’t expressed their opinions to Ms Koch and Mr Zellers certainly should:

    rep.kurt.zellers@house.mn
    sen.amy.koch@senate.mn

    Ultimately, I think the R’s have backed themselves into a corner: they hold out for a long time, and make for a painful shutdown, they are the first up for re-election in 16 short months, whereas Dayton gets 2 more years for people to calm down. If they compromise, they will enrage the hard-core right, who will talk about breaking their pledge, and they will face re-election with the real possibility of a challenge from the even-further right wing of their party. Their only out (if reelection is the only goal, and lets face it, it’s up there), is to compromise now, and hope that in the end people remember the act of compromise, and not the lead up to the brink of a shutdown.

  3. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/30/2011 - 02:31 pm.

    #20. Income tax. It’s in the title. Income tax is a small portion of anyone’s tax burden, but because it is the most progressive, SHOULD be the biggest. It was that very concept that created the above mentioned MN Miracle, reducing the burden on localities for schools by increaasing state school aid funded by progressive income tax instead of regressive property tax.

  4. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 02:41 pm.

    FDR raised taxes (but not exponentially) and the economy began to recover; he listened to the wrong people, and, thinking the country was recovering, cut taxes. The economy stopped improving and slid downward and did not start to recover until WWII.
    Hoover didn’t raise taxes.

  5. Submitted by T J Simplot on 06/30/2011 - 10:48 am.

    The fact that both sides are willing to let the state shut down is absolutely pitiful. I will blame both sides equally and will remember this come election time.

  6. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 06/30/2011 - 11:03 am.

    Good article. I’m inclined to think that it’s more than personal bias involved in deciding who’s right. There are principles at stake here, the most prominent being being the Republicans’ steadfast commitment to their mantra of “no new taxes.” I’m having hard time understanding what that’s based on other than ideological rigidity.

  7. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 06/30/2011 - 11:10 am.

    The reason we have to keep government from growing ever larger is plain for everyone to see by looking at what is going on in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and England. Eventually the country will run out of money. It’s amazing that some people still think money grows on trees.

  8. Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 06/30/2011 - 11:21 am.

    To Jim #3. The state and country are not running of money. We’ve just consistantly decreased revenue sources. To compare our country and economy to Greece and Spain is to display your complete ignorance of what’s really going on here.

  9. Submitted by will lynott on 06/30/2011 - 11:25 am.

    Can’t agree with you, Doug. The Governor’s willingness to give up his plan for a surcharge and higher tax rate on the wealthy is pretty well known. Meanwhile, none of the other side’s many attempts at messaging have gained any real traction. And, I do think it will be remembered that the Rs went to the Supremes hoping to get a ruling that NO money could be spent during a shutdown, even for critical services.

    All the legislators have to stand for election next year, and the public anger will still be fresh. Dayton will still be around after these bozos have been turned out of office. He’ll be fine.

  10. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 11:28 am.

    No, money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s in the pockets and accounts of those who make at least $250,000 and many who make millions, and who are not paying taxes at the same level as people like me–the middle class (or I was)–who mostly just get by.
    The republicans refuse to take into account inflation, but maybe more urgently, the fact that the economy has not grown enough and produced enough jobs, and more and more people are needing help. It fails to take into account our schools, with more and more young people and children–and I believe the millions that the state still owes them, which Pawlenty and now the repubs are using to “balance the budget.”
    People need to quit looking at the size of government and look at our state’s overall health, including our educational system (did you know that every dollar spent at the University results in a $13 gain, or that early childhood education brings in a substantial amount of money over the long haul?)
    The only thing the repubs apparently look at is dollars dollars dollars–and the interests of their own clients–the well off and the profitable businesses and corporations.

  11. Submitted by Marta Fahrenz on 06/30/2011 - 11:28 am.

    I will blame the Republicans. Dayton has tried to meet in the middle any number of times, and if the Republicans get their way on their ridiculous and unsustainable stance on taxes, we will continue our sad decline. The twisted thinking of the Republican party is baffling, considering they are the party of business. What sort of company can run successfully and profitably after a decade of constant cutbacks on investment in employees, training, infrastructure and product? That’s called running a company — and a state — into the ground.

  12. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 06/30/2011 - 11:31 am.

    Jim, statistics show that, as Baby Boomers reach retirement, aging and health related costs of gov’t continue to rise. Do you have any sort of solution to that problem? Really, this old Tea Party line of “gov’t growing larger” is, quite frankly, becoming nauseating. Do you and your ilk ever have anything constructive to add to the problem? Do you ever look outside your own pocketbook and at the bigger problem?

  13. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 06/30/2011 - 11:34 am.

    Facts suggest government always swells and debt always increases under GOP administrations. Yet somehow the party keeps lapping up the notion that only they are for small government. Look up the numbers for yourself. Reagan the thespian drove the size of government and debt, as did the Bush dynasty. If you want smaller government and less debt support the facts and go with the democrats. The GOP is pushing a bald face lie about what you’ll ultimately get in contradiction to what they say.

    Excellent article Mr. Grow, but this citizen lays the blame squarely on the liars.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  14. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 06/30/2011 - 11:58 am.

    I blame ONLY the Republicans.
    1. They are unwilling to move an iota. Dayton has already moved.
    2. Their leadership is not leading and everybody knows it. When the party boss sends out their news releases, there is no leadership there.
    3. They’ve been just making up numbers almost as fast they’ve been making up “facts” and stories.
    4. Their own party’s former governor got us into this mess with his nonsensical unalottment budget and his stubborn “no new taxes” idea.
    5. When their own governor was in charge the Republicans said the governor should be in charge of the budget, now that a Democrat is in there they think they have supreme authority.
    6. Dayton has been willing to meet with them and willing to listen to their lack of ideas and has done so more or less with a straight face, which is better than I could personally do.
    7. The reason the Republican message has no traction is its nonsense plain and simple.

  15. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 12:16 pm.

    You betcha, Jeremy.

  16. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/30/2011 - 12:20 pm.

    You can’t simply blame one side or the other, when both came at the budget from extreme positions. Dayton dropped the ball before he was elected, when he failed to accurately estimate the tax revenue to be raised by his initial plan and by motivating targeted taxpayers to organize against him. The Republicans’ insistence on limiting expenditures to projected revenue under current law and their refusal to look at additional revenue sources (which a guest on MPR just indicated they’e held to in discussions the past few days) are simply unreasonable. Much has been said about living within our means, as families and businesses supposedly do. The fact is, those of us in a position to do so look at every means available to get out of a financial tight spot, be it working longer, dipping into savings, selling off non-essential property, or (gasp!) borrowing for the short or long term. The state can’t borrow. It can do the equivalent of every other option mentioned. But ideology has outstipped reason once again, on both sides.

    We all have to take a hit here. So far, neither side seems to have accepted this. The fairest way to do it may well be temporary tax increases on all who earn income. But the great middle class, at least as seen by the two parties, won’t stand for that. Instead, we fight over solving this temporary problem by putting the burden on one end or the other of the economic ladder.

    They, and those of us who elected them, should be ashamed of ourselves. Instead, we’ll go down blaming each other.

  17. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 06/30/2011 - 12:37 pm.

    Shut it down.

  18. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 12:37 pm.

    Many of the electorate should be blamed. People voted them into office. But no babies or infants or children had a vote. Many elderly and disabled may not have had a vote. Poor people are less likely to vote.
    And that vote was not overwhelming on either side, breaking about 50% to 49% in most cases. No one has a mandate.
    It would be nice if common sense were more common. We’d get this done.

  19. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 06/30/2011 - 12:40 pm.

    Let us remember that Minnesota is already a highly taxed state. No more new taxes!

  20. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/30/2011 - 12:43 pm.

    After 8 years of the Bush Tax cuts which the Republican’s claim generates jobs, but don’t – 8.1% unemployment. There goes the tax cut claim. Sensible folks know it is product demand that generates jobs, not tax cuts. Their trickle down theory of the Reagan years failed miserably. Their wasted time doing social engineering at the beginning of the session guaranteed a special session. Interviewed wealthy Americans were asked what they did with their benefits of the Bush tax cut, primary answer, they saved it. When their philosophy only serves a special few for the benefit of their next election. When all Republican’s that sat on their hands voiceless while Bush spent our country into oblivion they lost their total argument that they know how to run a country or a state. When compromised has vacated the Republican philosophy they must remain voiceless.

  21. Submitted by andrew stephens on 06/30/2011 - 12:44 pm.

    According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Minnesota has own sourced income that puts it about 25th as far as state & local tax burdens as a percentage of income.

  22. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/30/2011 - 12:51 pm.

    #15 Minnesota is NOT a highly taxed state. We’re “middle of the pack” from everything I’ve read. Besides, our strengths, our educated work force, good road infrastructure, green spaces, good schools, etc. grew jobs and our economy BECAUSE we used to be a “high” tax/high service state. Bring it back. It was the Minnesota Miracle.

    Don’t any of you repugs wonder why, if higher taxes and higher services don’t work, we consistently out-performed the country on all economic measures UNTIL Jesse and Timmy started cutting taxes and restricting services? Although admittedly, neither one of them cut services to the level of their cut taxes. Too cowardly, I suppose.

  23. Submitted by jody rooney on 06/30/2011 - 01:00 pm.

    Actually reality is on the side of the Governor. Anyone who understands data from mythology knows that.

  24. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 06/30/2011 - 01:18 pm.

    According to forbes we are the 6th highest taxed states.

    http://www­.forbes.co­m/2010/03/­12/most-ta­xed-states­-lifestyle­-income-ta­x-burden_s­lide_6.htm­l

  25. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/30/2011 - 01:19 pm.

    Basically, I second Ginny Martin…

    Minnesota IS a “high-tax” state, at least compared to the other states in which I’ve lived. My income taxes – on exactly the same income – are triple what they were in my previous residence. My property taxes are 50 percent higher, at the same time that my home has lost 25 percent of its value in the 2 years I’ve lived in it. And yet, my standard of living – and I’m a retiree on a fixed income – hasn’t suffered since my move to Minnesota. The “low-tax” states in which I’ve lived also have far fewer services, fewer and smaller state parks, and so on. There ain’t no free lunch.

    I don’t see any evidence that the Republicans in Minnesota who are speaking the loudest believe in anything much beyond “government needs to be smaller,” even when there doesn’t appear to be any rationale for “smaller.” Too many – not all, but too many – Minnesota Republicans have bought into the intellectually bankrupt right-wing idolatry of the faux-libertarian.

    Not one percent of all the people who call themselves Republican or “conservative” have made their living “on their own.” Whether it’s 3M, MedTronic, Target, or a guy running an auto repair shop in a St. Paul street corner garage, we all rely on products and services provided by others. There has never been a functioning society, much less one with pretensions to democracy, based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand or the Koch brothers. There never will be.

    The greatest growth in the American economy in the 20th century occurred when taxes were the highest. Government spending as a percentage of GDP is lower now than it was in 1950. The total tax burden on Americans, as a percentage of income, is lower now than it was in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration. Even in Minnesota, we’re not overtaxed.

    To call for “no new taxes” is intellectually honest only if every reasonable source of revenue is being tapped. Doing so while simultaneously calling for tax BREAKS for businesses and wealthy individuals is simply fraudulent. There’s no evidence – none – that lower taxes “create jobs.” There’s no evidence – none – that higher taxes will somehow drive the wealthy from Minnesota, though the mental image of a caravan of Lexuses, Hummers, Lamborghinis and Mercedes limousines heading south to Iowa on I-35 is an interesting one. When confronted with massive debt, it’s not constructive – it’s not even sane – to talk seriously about reducing one’s income, which is exactly what tax breaks do.

    If a shutdown takes place, it’ll be totally unnecessary. It’ll also be the antithesis of “serving the people of Minnesota,” which is what the legislature is elected to do. At every opportunity, I’ll be laying blame where it belongs: on obstinate, doctrinaire ideologues in the Republican Party.

  26. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 06/30/2011 - 01:51 pm.

    If high taxes lead to prosperity then why, when Hoover and FDR raised taxes exponentially during the great depression did we remain in a depression?

  27. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/30/2011 - 01:57 pm.

    Theren’s nothing “extreme” about a 3% tax hike on the wealthiest MNs. During the great depression we raised taxes on the wealthy over 100%, from an income tax rate of 25% to 63%. We paid off our war and depression debts, and launched the greatest economic expansion in history that created the largest and most affluent middle class in the world.

    The Republican budget literally asks children in wheel chairs to pay $350 more a year so that people making over $200 thousand a year don’t have to pay $200 more in taxes. What’s “extreme” here?

  28. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/30/2011 - 02:03 pm.

    If they weren’t so willfully stubborn and so completely dysfonic, I’d almost feel sorry for for the Republicans in the legislature.

    No matter what they do, they lose:

    either they compromise and lose their party endorsements,

    they shut down the government and get blamed (and, sorry, Doug, but we ALL know who has already compromised and who is refusing to budge), and the public throws them out of office in fall, 2012, or

    as the most unlikely scenario, Gov. Dayton folds (which he will not), and the Republican budget becomes reality, in which the case the damage and destruction will be so clear and so widely felt that the public throws them out of office.

    It took a lot of work to create this lose-lose-lose situation, for which they have no one to blame except themselves (or, perhaps Grover Norquist).

    I almost wonder if Mr. Norquist is an undercover agent for the Democrats, put in place with a very long-term plan and a simple slogan guaranteed to eventually destroy the Republican Party and cast them out of power for the next 50 years.

    Whether he’s destroying the party on purpose will probably never be known, but he’s certainly destroying it.

  29. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 06/30/2011 - 03:00 pm.

    @Paul, you seem very generous with wealth that does not belong to you in the first instance. I submit that there is nothing extreme about having a 34 billion budget versus a 35.5 billion dollar budget. The reality is you seem to think that the wealth in society belongs to society, it does not.

  30. Submitted by Ann Anderson on 06/30/2011 - 03:09 pm.

    Making open-minded decisions requires being able to make comparisons, and it’s hard to do that with something as complex as the state budget. Of course no one LIKES taxes, but do we know what life would be like if they were reduced?

    Would it be possible to create a list of the services we would lose if the Republicans got their way? The shutdown will be an extreme reminder of where our taxes go, and I’m hoping that everyone who thinks he can just lead his own life without any interference will sorely miss the parks and amenities. I wonder if those folks would think differently if they saw a list of all the poor, young, disabled and old people who would be hurt by cutbacks. Could they really say “Yes – I support not giving wheelchairs to handicapped kids so we can avoid a new tax?”

    Let’s put faces and photos on the things we would lose under the Republican’s budget plan. Anonymous cutbacks are easy to dismiss, but people, schools and communities are not.

  31. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 06/30/2011 - 03:37 pm.

    @Ginny,

    Hoover raised income taxes in 1932

    FDR raised income taxes in 1936.
    FDR raised income taxes again in 1941,42,and 44.

    FDR did not lower income taxes during his presidency.

    Follow the link below for evidence.
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html

    WWII did not end our economic woes and military conscription does not reduce unemployment, it is nothing more than armed slavery!

  32. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 06/30/2011 - 03:50 pm.

    The title of Adam Smith’s 1776 book is “The Wealth of Nations.” It wasn’t the “wealth of King George III” or the “wealth of the East India Company” or its owners who happened to “own” title to it. The premise of Smith’s book was that wealth was something that belonged to society or the “Commonwealth” by the operation of the invisible hand of competition in a free market and the theory that property belonged to “he that hath mixed his labor to make it.”

    Fast forward to 2011: Still no free market but a market run by and for dominating multinational corporations. The “owners” of the money which is extracted from these corporations are the executives and the boards of directors who vote each other compensation packages and manipulate the stocks (or the collateralized debt obligations) and then collect billions in government bailout money to cover the losses. From this chain of topsy-turvey logic, it follows that it’s “theft” if the state taxes Jeff Skilling’s or some AIG trader’s bonus because they “earned” their billions.

    Obviously, Minnesota must be “stealing” he money of its wealthiest citizens by “job killing” taxes. Otherwise it would have a booming economy like Mississippi’s or Alabama’s.

  33. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 03:51 pm.

    “Wealth that does not belong to you” is not the real issue. Taxes are the price we pay for civilization (somebody famous said that). As a member of society, which rests on the social contract that we all subscribe to, everyone pays their share. The issue is what is a civilized society and what is your share–that That’s my money!
    A civilized society takes care of its disabled, its elderly, the children, as well as its roads, its court system, its weights and measures office (thumbs, anyone?), its state troopers (who are continuing to work), its health department and warning and information about things like Lyme disease, its laws to ensure that workers get a living wage (not quite), its sanitation laws, water distribution, street cleaning, its parks and lakes, the post office . . .
    It sounds like a bargain to me. Not all of your money is yours. A part of it goes to sustain the infrastructure of everything that surrounds you. Everybody pays (well, almost; the very poor do not and the very rich who can squirm out of paying taxes, or at least their fair share.
    Or you could move to a low-tax state like Mississippi, where poverty is high, educational attainment is low, health problems (like obesity and diabetes) are high–all sorts of things that can be measured characterize a state–and it is not just how much money you can take home and stash under your mattress (don’t forget FDIC).

  34. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 03:57 pm.

    34 million is extreme if it cuts out fundamental and necessary services.
    It wasn’t conscription that reduced unemployment–although it was that too. It was that the United States came together and threw all of its available resources into winning the war, and quickly. Not just tanks and guns, but just about everything. Some of us remember saving grease and newspaper and tinfoil and cultivating victory gardens and the like. That was shared sacrifice. Every family had someone in service, someone who had died or been injured in service.
    Now that’s a social contract, and until people begin to understand this and seriously subscribe it, we will continue our downward slide to a failed country.

  35. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 06/30/2011 - 04:19 pm.

    The Greeks have handed out too many benefits (and by “benefits” I don’t mean wheelchairs to the needy – I mean 20 weeks of vacation to public employees) for too many years. Sooner or later they must cut back, and then there are riots because of the dependency and expectation. This is what the GOP is trying to save our state from.

  36. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 06/30/2011 - 04:37 pm.

    Yes, darn those state employees with their 20 weeks of vacation. Cleary, that is exactly what Gov Dayton wants. When he proposes a tax on the top 2% of earners, it’s not being done because of the costs to the state (healthcare, energy, incoming bills from businesses that do work for the state); that’s just a red herring. When he gets the extra revenue, he’ll yell “surprise” and he and all state employees will go for a cruise for the first 2 weeks of their 20 weeks off. Good lord, where do you come up with this stuff???

  37. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 06/30/2011 - 04:44 pm.

    @Frankie:

    There are low-tax states. You may know them as Alabama, Texas*, South Dakota… can you please explain to Minnesotans why we should give up our high standards of living to follow a model that is practiced by the states with the lowest standards of living?

    * I have, incidentally, been trapped in Texas for work for several months and I will fight tooth and nail against anyone wanting to make our great state more like this hell hole.

  38. Submitted by Lynn Wehrman on 06/30/2011 - 05:00 pm.

    “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks about changing himself.” -Leo Tolstoy

    Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming each other and look in the mirror. Everyone. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Legislators. Voters. Citizens.

    What is it we need to change in how we live and interact each other that will resolve this? Shutting down the state government may provide us all with the focus to consider this question.

    “Where there is uncertainty, there is also unlimited possibility.” -unknown

  39. Submitted by Steven Arnold on 06/30/2011 - 05:26 pm.

    This budget impasse continues to be reported as the GOP legislature vs Governor Dayton. The implication is that Dayton alone is blocking an agreement.

    What about the failure of the legislature to even try to override Dayton’s veto? Has the GOP been willing to compromise enough to pick up even one more vote?

    If this comes to a shutdown, MN voters will throw the rascals out, GOP and DFL alike. That is what happened in 2010. That is also how Jesse Ventura got elected. But Dayton will not stand for reelection until 2014.

  40. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 06/30/2011 - 05:37 pm.

    Satisfy the deficit with tax hikes now, and what will we be seeing in two years? Yes, another deficit and another call for tax hikes. On and on. There’s a better way – limited government.

  41. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/30/2011 - 05:44 pm.

    Ginny is right. The recovery during the depression stalled when FDR lowered taxes. ANd, as Jeff pointed out, Texas is a hell hole. The environment degraded — my niece who lived there for a while was appalled at what passed for “education” — particularly in the sciences and jumped for joy (I’m sure literally) when she and her family could move to Pennsylvania. What’s so frightening now, is that the Republican Party has become so extreme, so Ayn Randian, that it often seems they won’t be satisfied until they turn this country into a Libertarian Paradise like Somalia.

  42. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/30/2011 - 05:59 pm.

    And, Lynn, no offense but there IS blame to be assigned here, and what needs to change is very parallel to what is the crux of the problem of why we don’t have a budget. Dayton and the dems are working with facts and reality — what was actually spent in the last biennium (39M), what has increased the demands on State Finances (aging, unemployment), what the OMB projects as the results of the budget decisions being made. Koch and Zellers pretend that the K-12 shift can extend forever — shift means that sometime somehow you’ll have to pay it back or make the amputation permanent and that King Timmy actually walked the talk and refused the stimulus funds that made up a good portion of the last biennium’s deficit, they pretend that magic will happen and people will stop aging and the umemployed will either vanish or start working, most egregiously of all, they make up their own numbers instead of using the numbers the OMB calculates.

    The Right Wing has spent a lot of time and effort developing an alternate reality. Understood. They don’t want to give it up. But blame has to attach to those who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the truth in front of them. Like many who’ve written here, I try my best on a one-to-one basis, to forgive them as mentally ill. Delusional. But their delusions are going to ruin our country and our state. Yes. I blame them.

  43. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 07:03 pm.

    Frankie, Have you had enough history to know what was going on in 1942, etc Think. We had a war going on. We hadn’t been prepared for a war and, as I said earlier, we threw everything we had into it. We needed that money to build aircraft and tanks and uniforms and to provide food and buildings and everything else.

  44. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 06/30/2011 - 07:09 pm.

    By the way, Frankie, you don’t have to go back 50 or 75 years to get the evidence. And you don’t have to look any farther than Minnesota. Minnesota was the “miracle” state, the state that works, said Time magazine.
    Our taxes were high at the time. We were proud of our schools and educational system, and hundreds of things about our beautiful state.
    Then taxes started to go down and in the last years of Paw as taxes reached their lowest point (and property taxes their highest) the economy faltered–and not all of it was due to the national economic issues. And by the way, why did we have such economic failure? The reasons are complex but the housing market was key, and Bush’s tax cuts reached a low point and helped the decline along.

  45. Submitted by Ron Salzberger on 06/30/2011 - 07:18 pm.

    Lots of comments. One more can’t hurt.

    Voters will be mad at both sides, but House members face re-election a lot sooner than Dayton. When his turn comes, the “Republican shut-down” will be well established.

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