Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why a shutdown?

Contrary to the impressions left by media reports and DFL statements, the GOP-controlled legislature sent several budget compromise proposals to Governor Dayton in an attempt to avoid a state government shutdown. Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) provided this summary in an e-mail to constituents:
May:  Knowing Governor Dayton wanted more revenue, Republicans proposed a balanced budget containing a 6 percent increase in state spending.  This proposal would have avoided a special session and a government shutdown.  STATUS:  Vetoed by Governor Dayton
June 6:  Republican leaders offered to accept 50 percent of Governor Dayton's budget.  This compromise proposal would have adopted the Governor's funding numbers for schools, courts, and public safety.  STATUS:  Rejected by Governor Dayton
June 16:  Republican leaders dropped request for tax cuts - a key provision for us.  This compromise proposal also included increasing spending for higher education, transportation, and more.  The compromise also renewed our offer to accept Governor Dayton's numbers for schools, courts, and public safety.  STATUS:  Rejected by Governor Dayton
June 30:  Republican leaders offered to add $10 million to the University of Minnesota and issue appropriation bonds.  Governor Dayton wanted to shift school aid payments from 70/30 to 50/50.  GOP leaders said no to Governor Dayton's 50/50 school aid payment shift, but did move a little on that split to generate $700 million in revenue for the Governor.  Republican leaders then offered to increase per student aid to cover borrowing costs.  STATUS:  Rejected by Governor Dayton
Republicans have passed the largest budget in state history without raising taxes, without the tax cuts that conservatives have demanded, with funding for many of the governor's priorities, and even giving a little toward the governor's 50/50 shift proposal, which would tighten the financial screws on school districts once again (especially charter schools). Governor Dayton, the CEO of Minnesota's divided government, should put his "tax the rich" mantra on hold for his reelection, and reopen the state for business.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo) stated on the July 5 edition of Capitol Report (Senate Media Services) that the Governor's last budget proposal is still $1.6 billion higher than the Republicans' last proposal, itself the highest general fund budget in state history. She also pointed out that despite many divided state governments nationwide (different parties controlling the legislature and the governor's office), Minnesota was the only state in the union that shut down its government this year.

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