Minnesota Government On Verge of Shutdown

Republicans almost forced the US government to shutdown over tough budget decisions that favored the rich -- a standstill we narrowly avoided. But now that Minnesota is taking stock of its budget woes, it looks like they may not get off so easily. As Dems and Republicans face off over a $3.6 billion budget -- in which the state is so close to shutdown that the government has started administering pre-emptive layoffs. CNN:

The governor, a Democrat who ran on a platform of taxing the rich, wants to hike the levy on the wealthiest 1.9% of Minnesotans. This would close half the deficit, leaving the rest to be eliminated through spending cuts.

"This is the reasonable, responsible middle ground," Dayton said last month.

But the Republican lawmakers who wrested control of the Capitol from Democrats in November say they will not support a tax hike. Instead, they are offering to fund "kids, cops and courts" at the level Dayton proposed, while cutting elsewhere.

"This new budget compromise offer reflects our longstanding objective to prioritize state spending within available resources," Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said last week.

Minnesota shut down in 2005 for eight days while deciding on a budget for the new fiscal year. In that instance, 8000 workers were furloughed. But if the state government shuts down this time, over 36,000 state employees could be affected, along with parks, rest stops, and universities. 

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 15, 2011, 5:52am

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