36,000 Reasons to End the Minnesota Shutdown

  Imagine if every generation in your family had a history of gainful employment with the same company, renowned all over the state for having better wages, hours and benefits than any other employer. While you were growing up, maybe your parents and grandparents encouraged you to work for the same company, because they all knew they would pay you fairly for the hours you put in, and take care of you after retirement. Now, imagine that same employer shutting down indefinitely, meaning you and 36,000 others are now on the streets with nowhere to go.


In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, that employer is the State of Minnesota. And at 5 PM today, the state of Minnesota is laying off tens of thousands of loyal employees, all of them victims of the same obstructionist politicking that pollutes Washington.


Just as Congressional Republicans are threatening to bring about another crippling recession by threatening a default on the national debt, Minnesota Republicans are refusing to accept any alternative to their cuts-only budget, meaning the entire state government will shut down. Minnesota's largest employer is about to padlock its doors, and Republicans are willing to take away the livelihoods of 36,000 of their constituents to score petty political points.


Governor Mark Dayton is asking for a modest 3% tax increase for the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans, shifting the tax burden for those earning above $193,687 from 8.1% to 11.1%. This is nothing compared to the tax burden of Minnesotans earning less than $11,201 per year, who already pay 22.1% of their income in taxes, However, the Republican-controlled state legislature stubbornly adheres to Grover Norquist's "No New Taxes" pledge, ready to shut the government down so the richest 2% won't have to pay even just ten percent less, proportionally, than the poorest of the poor in taxes.


Starting July 1, a college professor teaching a Summer class at a public university won't have a job to come to. Her students won't get to complete a class credit, or even have a school to attend.


By the end of the month, during one of the busiest and most prosperous seasons in the American tourism industry, not one state park in Minnesota will be open to host campers, hikers or sportsmen, ensuring that the state will lose untold millions in revenue.


By the end of business on Thursday, June 30, folks who depend on the State of Minnesota for a steady paycheck will be forced to either draw unemployment or depend on the money they saved for retirement to pay the bills and stay fed and clothed.


So at 5 PM today, when the doors of the state capitol are padlocked, US Uncut Minnesota will fight back with sustained, nonviolent resistance until obstructionist Republicans accept their governor's modest, reasonable, necessary tax increase.


36,000 people in Minnesota won't have jobs after today. And by the next election cycle, Minnesota Republicans will have to tell 36,000 people why they should keep their own jobs while allowing their constituents working in state government to lose theirs. Hopefully, like an elephant, the people never forget.



US Uncut / By Carl Gibson

Posted at June 30, 2011, 6:18am

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