Updated July 3, 2011
Minnesota mean at heart of government shutdown
From Politico.com, July 3, 2011, by James Hohmann
APPLE VALLEY, Minn.—There once was a time when Minnesota held an exalted position in American politics. It was known as a model of good government, the kind of place that sent poets to the Senate and produced politicians with nicknames like “The Happy Warrior.”
Today, that’s hard to imagine…marking Minnesota as one of just five states where government has ground to a halt in the last decade—and the only one where it’s happened twice…now known for its political gridlock, the kind of place that sends a professional wrestler to the governor’s mansion…
a far cry from the state’s image 40 years ago, when Time Magazine ran a 1973 cover story touting Minnesota as “A State That Works,” praising the “almost unnaturally clean politics” and highlighting its honorable “citizen-politicians.” <Read article>
No End in Sight as Minnesotans Grapple with State Shutdown
From the NY Times, July 1, 2011, by Monica Davey.
The Fort Snelling historic site near Minneapolis closed because of an impasse between Republicans and Democrats with fundamentally different approaches to solving a $5 billion deficit.
State parks were barricaded, and campers, Boy Scout troops and everyone else were sent on their way.
Heading into a holiday weekend in a state that savors its summers outdoors, licenses for fishing, hunting, trapping, boats and ATVs were unavailable for purchase. And all around the State Capitol — the place where all the troubles began — the streets were eerily empty and official buildings locked, plastered with hand-taped signs that offered a gentle explanation: “This building is closed until further notice due to the current state government service interruption.”
Right up to the midnight deadline on Thursday, Minnesotans, who have been known to boast of their professional, efficient government, had held out hope that the state’s divided leadership could reach a deal on how to solve a looming budget deficit. But in the end, the fundamentally different fiscal approaches of the Republicans and the Democrats here did not change, and Minnesota began its broadest shutdown of services in state history with no end in sight. <Read article>
Minnesota Shutdown 2011: Budget Dispute Takes Toll On State Workers, Local Residents
From the Huffington Post, July 2,2011
Minnesota is encountering its second government shutdown in six years after Governor Mark Dayton (D) and state lawmakers failed to reach an agreement in negotiations to close the state’s $5 billion budget gap late on Thursday night.
…The governor said he is willing to listen to proposals and even meet with Republican leaders over the weekend but if no offers were made he would “reach out” to them sometime on Tuesday. The governor met with DFL leaders around 9 a.m. [CST] Friday but details of the talks are being kept strictly confidential. According to KSTP-TV, Dayton has been in his office all day working on a compromise deal.
…The budget impasse means that some 23,000 of the roughly 36,000 Minnesota state employees will be furloughed and state parks and campgrounds closed ahead of what is usually their busiest stretch of the year for the July 4 holiday.
…Reading services for the blind are being suspended …a very real impact on the St. Louis Park Emergency Program’s food shelf (as) 26 percent of the nonprofit food shelf’s regular food supply comes…from a federal program that supplies USDA commodity items (this will end during the shutdown). <Read article>
Closing a State? The Rules Are Tricky
From NY Times, July 2, 2011 by Monica Davy
ST. PAUL — With no sign of a budget deal in sight, Minnesota awoke on Saturday to Day 2 of a government shutdown and, if anything, more confusion — rather than clarity — about how one actually carries out this sort of thing. Consider these tricky rules: <Read article>