Saturday, July 2, 2011

Does Minnesota's Budget Crises Foretell What's To Be On the National Level?

Carlos Gonzalez, Dml - Star Tribune
by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Indep4endent Conservatism
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Perhaps the scene now playing out in Minnesota is soon to take place on the national stage. As the Minnesota government is shutting down due to the democrats and republicans inability to find a practical, workable solution that both parties can buy into {aka compromise} our national government is rapidly approaching the same tipping point.

Perhaps it has to be.

Spending both at the state and national level must be brought under control. Limited and targeted revenue growth needs to be seriously considered. Regulatory relief is a definite must for our nation to regain competitive advantage. And there is certainly much more to be considered.

The question for each individual state, as well as the nation at large is, are we as a people ready and willing to give our leaders the latitude to make some very tough decisions.

If we decide we aren't ready for the hard decisions our nation will find itself on the same path that lead to Greece's current fiscal and societal crises.

Following are excerpts from the StarTribune
Talks imploded Thursday between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders in the final hours before a midnight deadline, and Minnesota began a historic government shutdown.

"This is a night of deep sorrow for me," Dayton said in an address at 10 p.m. that was punctuated by jeers and hisses from Republicans, including some lawmakers.

The governor said his last offer would have raised income taxes only on those earning more than $1 million a year -- an estimated 7,700 Minnesotans, or 0.3 percent of all taxpayers, according to the Revenue Department.

Republicans rejected the proposal, Dayton said, because they "prefer to protect the richest handful of Minnesotans at the expense of everyone else."

Republican leaders made their own statement, saying Dayton's proposal for dealing with the projected $5 billion deficit would cause irreparable harm to the state's economy for generations.

"We will not saddle our children and grandchildren with mounds of debts, with promises for funding levels that will not be there in the future," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. "This is debt that they can't afford. It's debt that we can't afford right now."

Policy as a bargaining chip

Talks may have also broken down because an earlier GOP offer asked Dayton to accept controversial policy positions the Republicans pushed for this year, including photo ID requirements at the polls and abortion restrictions. An offer sheet provided to the Star Tribune said the policy adoptions were in exchange for "new revenue in a compromise offer."

That deal also would have required tuition caps to be put in place at the University of Minnesota and MnSCU as well as a 15 percent reduction in the number of state workers by 2015. Tendered Wednesday night, the offer would have required a special session Thursday.

Ideological rift

Dayton and Republican legislators have been stalemated since January over how to balance the budget and close out the projected deficit. Dayton largely won election on a promise to preserve cherished state services by increasing taxes on the richest 2 percent of Minnesotans. But Republicans won control of the Legislature for the first time in decades with a pledge not to raise taxes. The deep rift ignited a political fistfight that spilled past the regular legislative session in late May and dragged the state to the current precipice.

As the negotiators toiled over the details, more than 23,000 workers prepared for life without paychecks and the state began shooing people from state campgrounds and closing rest areas. Even before the shutdown, Minnesotans got an early peek at the inconvenience from the mothballing of many state services. Minnesotans could no longer check if their optometrists, barbers or veterinarians had valid licenses to practice. Licensing board offices and various other state agencies pulled the plug on their agency websites hours before the scheduled shutdown.

The pressure from the looming shutdown stripped away months of polished rhetoric from both sides.

Republicans continued their almost evangelical crusade against higher taxes, but some warmed to the idea of more revenue from other sources, like an expansion of gambling, health care surcharges and other fees.

"I'm kind of interested in the revenue raisers," said Sen. Mike Jungbauer, R-East Bethel. "There's some that I would be interested in. Gambling. I hate gambling. But if you put it in the right place, I'd be OK with it."

Jungbauer said the remaining divide between Dayton and Republicans shouldn't be enough to close down government.

"We've seen the general sketch of the landscape of what's going on, what stuff is under negotiation," Jungbauer said. "And I think we're so dang close, if we shut it down I'm going to be really pissed."

As the state finds itself in a state of paralysis the question for most Minnesotans I am sure is... will life go on much the same as it always has. Likely it will.

The Democratic Governor of Minnesota. As expected placing the lion share of blame on Republicans.

Via: Memorandum


  1. The solutions are simple: stop giving handouts (overhigh compensation) to these well-off government employees. It's already working well in Wisconsin, improving education and causing budget surpluses

    Unfortunately, the greedy and lazy pigs who get caught with their hand in the cookie jar will engage in juvenile insults and threaten to kill the reformers. Happened in Wisconsin also. Thankfully the governor and the responsible legislators acted responsibly and ignored the tiny screaming minority.


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