After 14 days of a Minnesota government shutdown Governor Dayton issued a letter offering to accept the tax-free Republican budget as put forward before the shutdown, with some modifications.
The shutdown has been costing the state millions of dollars every week. According to the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus, each week the state is shutdown we are unnecessarily keeping thousands of Minnesotans unemployed, and costing the taxpayers millions. Between the estimated unemployment benefits, lost revenue, uncollected audits, delays in construction projects, and lost private sector the total spending could top $65 million a week.
After foregoing pressure from constituents during a state fly-around to make a deal, the Governor released the letter in attempt to make a deal with the Republicans. An article from the Washington Post quotes the Governor’s letter saying, “[D]espite my serious reservations about your plan, I have concluded that continuing the state government shutdown would be even more destructive for too many Minnesotans.. Therefore, I am willing to something I do not agree with — your proposal — in order to spare our citizens and our state from further damage.”
The letter specifically outlined three conditions of a compromise. First, all of the policy proposals are off the table. For example the voter ID laws and abortion/stem cell research restrictions will not go through. Second, Republicans must let go of their “arbitrary” across-the-board 15 percent cuts in the number of employees in all state government agencies. Finally, after the budget is completed in the special session, Republicans must help pass a bonding bill of no less than $500 million.
In an article by Minnesota Public Radio Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson had this to say, “For eight years we have been taking from the future to pay for today, under the guise that we shouldn’t increase taxes.. the idea that we can go for another two years by borrowing from tomorrow I think is the worst possible course this state can take.”
If Republicans accept this offer all the ground we have made during this session will be lost. We will lose all of the policy changes and spending reductions we have worked towards and instead Legislators will have to support and pass a $500 million bonding bill. A special session will be called within the next few days. Meanwhile Republicans are taking time to read over the proposal before accepting or declining. Do you think they accept Dayton’s offer or hold off for a better deal?