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July 01, 2011 10:55 PM UTC

Minnesota Shutdown a Warning to Congressional Republicans

  • 2 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

As our friends at “The Fix” explain, the Minnesota state government has shut down — and the impacts could be felt all the way to Washington D.C.:

After six months of disagreement and seven days of intense negotiations, the Minnesota state government shut down at midnight last night.

Gov. Mark Dayton (D) and the Republican-controlled legislature have been in a standoff since the beginning of the legislative session over how to close a projected $5 billion budget deficit.

In an echo of the national budget fight, Dayton wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans. Republicans wanted to close the gap with spending cuts and accounting shifts.

“I cannot accept a Minnesota where people with disabilities lose part of the time they are cared for by personal care attendants so that millionaires don’t have to pay $1 more in taxes,” Dayton said at about 10 P.M. last night, when it became clear that a deal would not be reached.

The debates leading to the shutdown are somewhat similar to the dynamic playing out in Congress as the 2012 budget is considered. Polling results from Minnesota — no doubt somebody is already in the field — could prove to have a significant effect on how Congressional Republicans handle budget talks. Again, from “The Fix“:

Republicans offered a deal that included layoffs for some state workers and teachers along with some unrelated measures they have been unable to pass, including a voter ID law and abortion restrictions. [Pols emphasis] The GOP also proposed delaying $700 million in payment to public schools, who are already owed about $1 billion by the state, and issuing tobacco bonds (from money sent regularly to the state by the tobacco industry) to cover the rest of the gap. Dayton rejected those offers, saying the tobacco bonds were not permanent revenues…

…”I think both sides tend to lose here, but particularly the Republicans,” said Steven Schier, a political science professor at Carleton College. “What the Republicans did is hold out here for a bunch of social policy changes in addition to no new taxes, and by asking for that they’ve essentially gotten significant responsibility for a government shutdown.” [Pols emphasis]

If public polling shows that Minnesota voters are indeed blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, it should give pause to Congressional Republicans who are playing similar games with the 2012 budget by attacking programs and policies that aren’t related directly to the balance sheet. For example, Congressional Republicans are targeting several public lands issues as part of the 2012 budget talks, but those proposals don’t look very good when you consider estimates that Minnesota economy will lose some $12 million a week in tourism revenue because of the shutdown of its state parks. If Congressional Republicans are willing to damage tourism dollars while opposing rolling back tax subsidies for industries like oil & gas, it won’t be difficult for Democrats to tell a harmful story come 2012.

Oh, and for you trivia buffs — Minnesota is now the only state to have had a government shutdown twice in the past decade. GOP Presidential contender (and former Minnesota Governor) Tim Pawlenty should be less-than-thrilled about new questions about the previous 2005 shutdown.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Minnesota Shutdown a Warning to Congressional Republicans

  1. Republicans are ripping away the civil fabric of our society and these kinds of dysfunctional situations aren’t good for anyone.

    It is kind of like the teaser previews at the movies.  “Coming to the national government soon, ideologues pushing grandma out of nursing homes so they can maintain every tax break for the wealthy elites.”

    It will probably just whet the appetites of the Cantors and Pauls to put government workers in the unemployment lines.  That is their ideal concept of job creation.  Get rid of government so corporations an install a new peon society.

    1. but they’re trying to re-weave the super-conservative society of long ago, one whose demise we celebrate this week. How (in)appropriate.

      There seem to be two kinds of Republicans. There are the archconservatives of power and privilege who want to re-establish the Divine Right, the so-called “Natural Order” whereby wealth and power endow them with dominion over the thought and actions of the rest of us here on earth because their God needs managers of proven “success”. They’re the C Streeters, the Wall Streeters and their political and media hires, and conservative religionists. They’re in positions of control and in their drive to consolidate and increase that control their cynicism knows no bounds.

      Then there are those Republicans who follow them and do their bidding at the polls. They’re generally well-meaning folks, most comfortable with tradition, not-so-simple people who are at ease with simple answers, who, for whatever reason, believe they’re voting the right way.

      Well, hey. America is still a nominal democracy. I’ll reluctantly concede the corporatists and the religionists have their right to pursue their ideal of American society. But, dammit, so do the rest of us. We deserve, as much as they, the America we envision. Personally, I want an America that works for all Americans. Their outmoded and discredited model doesn’t even come close. It works only for them. We have a right and a responsiblity to stop them.

      Sorry, Gilpin, for going off on a rant, but you struck a chord. You are so, so right: Republicans are ripping away the civil fabric of our society. It hurts. Now we have a lot of repairs to make. Fight the cynics with tooth, claw, law and ballot. Convert, somehow, their willing tools. And keep weaving.

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