Who’s responsible for the shutdown? How can it be resolved?

117 comments to  (Including 23 Discussion Threads) Who’s responsible for the shutdown? How can it be resolved?

  • 1
    Griff Wigley says:

    In case you haven’t heard, we’re in shutdown mode.

    I was among those who didn’t think it would happen.

    My goal today is to find another place to camp this weekend (adjacent to a bike trail), as we had reservations at Sakatah Lake State Park… and all state parks are closed.

    • 1.1
      Jim Fisher says:

      I didn’t think it would happen either. There are designated overnight camping sites along the Sakatah trail itself. Borrow Erics BD and load the tent and supplies. Out of state or I would loan you mine.
      Back to the shut down, you get what you vote for….hmmm doesn’t a certain Congressman own a private camp ground near Sakatah State Park? Nah, too much conspiracy theory.

  • 2
    Paul Zorn says:

    Since you ask, I’d apportion blame as follows:

    * 60% to Republican adamant opposition to raising revenue, the public’s needs be d****d

    * 10% to Republicans’ 11th-hour raising of divisive social issues (I’ll reapportion if reports to this effect turn out to be false)

    * 10% to Democrats’ inflexibility on means for raising revenue. (I think Dayton’s plan was right all along, but other means, like a surtax, could have been floated.

    * 10% to fuzzy math (funding shifts, delays, oranges-to-apples comparisons)

    • 2.1
      Phil Poyner says:

      Paul, you going to go with “Poor star alignment” to account for the remaining 10%? ;-P

    • 2.2
      Kathie Galotti says:

      Nicely put, Paul!

    • 2.3
      David Ludescher says:

      Paul,

      Regarding the actual responsibility for the shutdown, the Legislature PASSED a budget bill. The government would be in business if Dayton had signed it.

      Under our system of legislation, the governor has NO authority to appropriate money nor raise revenue.

      Depending upon one’s perspective, his veto may have been prudent. But, the governor is clearly “responsible” for the slowdown. Apparently, in Dayton’s opinion, the slowdown wasn’t as important as trying to get additional revenue from the Legislature. That is why he was elected -- to make these difficult decisions. In the end, let’s hope that Dayton was right -- that the pain of the slowdown was worth it.

      • 2.3.1
        David Beimers says:

        Well, Governor Dayton is “responsible” if you see his sole function of the governor as signing into law whatever legislation lands on his desk, whether he agrees with it or not. Did you share this same perspective during the ’05 slow down?

        However, if you see the function of the governor as the leader of the state, and as the leader articulating a vision for the future and pursuing a plan to get there, then I think it’s hard to hold him 100% accountable for acting in his leadership capacity.

        I am pretty appalled at the ‘negotiation’ strategy of the GOP in the final 24 hours. I heard from a legislator earlier today that confirmed a slew of social issues were introduced very late in the negotiations, which 10% of Paul’s apportionment.

      • 2.3.2
        David Ludescher says:

        David B.,

        I am probably one of the few who view the slowdown as our legislative process working as it was designed. While I don’t agree with Dayton on either the need to raise taxes nor his proposal on how to raise taxes, at least he showed courage and responsibility by doing what he thought was his job as governor. If Dayton had just caved in order to keep the state running, I would have been disappointed in him.

        So, while I hold Dayton responsible for the slowdown, I think he did the right thing -- for himself, and, I am hoping -- for the state.

  • 3
    john george says:

    I suppose that if we are going to apportion blame, then I would give the Legislature 50% and the Governor 50%, because 100% of the problem lies with these two government divisions not being able to work together.

  • 4
    Joe Dokken says:

    Gov. Dayton is primarily responsible for shutdown. Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would have both parts of state legislative branch controlled by the Republicans. Because he would have never promised during one of his gubernatorial debates to say he would not shut down the state over his desire to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.

    • 4.1
      john george says:

      Joe- That is a good point, and I believe it accurately describes the Governor’s motivation.

      • 4.1.1

        Governor Dayton is not responsible it is the Republicans to blame no Comprimise : Let us remember that Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers said the same thing : And no new ideas from their side what so ever : It is costing us millions

  • 5
    kiffi summa says:

    as reported yesterday through interviews on MNPR, Dayton had made a final adjustment to his tax increase and that was to only apply it to those making OVER a million $$ a year.
    The R negotiators said we will CONSIDER that AFTER you sign our redistricting map.

    As reported that was ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’…

    Signing the R’s version of the redistricting map would hold hostage the voters of the entire state for the next ten years, until a new map is done after a new census.

    “CONSIDER” and “AFTER” ? … Who is not negotiating?

  • 6
    Paul Zorn says:

    David L,

    If in 2.3.2 you discern some silver lining in the present impasse, then I think you’re indeed among the few—very few—who take any satisfaction in in these events.

    If your point is just that the present impasse proceeds predictably from opposing but dug-in attitudes, then I agree completely. But I attribute the ideological zealotry and intransigence overwhelmingly to the Republican side.

    Republicans more than Democrats are looking for sweeping changes in state government policy and practice, even as it pertains to social issues — as I think Republicans themselves would agree.

    Irrespective of whether these views are wise or foolish, one expects the more ideology-driven party, with a more ambitious political and social agenda, to be less flexible in negotiations. Republicans far more than Democrats tie their own hands with policy pledges, demand ideological purity, inveigh against social practices others see as outside the domain of government, see government as enemy, etc. Add to all this the presence of many new and inexperienced but zealous Republican legislators and the result is, as you suggest, predictable. Notice, too, that many experienced Republican legislators (e.g., Arne Carlson, Ray Cox, …) take, to their credit, far more pragmatic views.

    Addressing big problems may require big changes, so a radical economic/social/governmental agenda is not automatically wrong. Either way, I see no evidence that Minnesota voters as a group agree on the big changes Republicans propose. Were it otherwise we would have elected Gov Dayton’s far more zealous opponent.

    • 6.1
      David Ludescher says:

      Paul,

      As a group Minnesotans elected Republican legislators over Democratic legislators. Had the Republicans chosen a more moderate gubernatorial candidate, Minnesotans would have had a Republican governor, the budget would have passed, and there wouldn’t have been this slowdown. Amazingly, the most middle of the road candidate, Horner, got the least number of votes. So, I don’t think you can draw any conclusion from the voters except, perhaps, that the people want their government to be polarized. They voted for a split government, and that is what they got.

      Good could come out of this impasse if the Democrats and Republicans would let good happen. First, they could try to agree upon what the courts have determined to be “core services”, i.e. constitutionally mandated services. Second, they could determine appropriate funding levels for those services. Third, they could take a hard look at the non-core services. (See Griff’s post about not having the bike trail cleared.)

      The governor (and the Democrats in the Legislature) may have inadvertently given the Legislature (controlled by the Republicans) more than they wanted. The Repubs wanted a smaller government (6% increase) and the Dems are (temporarily) giving them a substantially smaller government (an actual decrease).

      Regardless of whose “fault” it is, it seems to me that the Republicans can hold out longer than the Democrats.

      • 6.1.1
        Paul Zorn says:

        David L,

        You say:

        Had the Republicans chosen a more moderate gubernatorial candidate, Minnesotans would have had a Republican governor, the budget would have passed, and there wouldn’t have been this slowdown.

        And had the metro area not voted, Emmer would have won handily.

        But I agree with what I think is your main point: the election didn’t tell us much. Indeed, that was my main point: the election was not a mandate for the sweeping change the Republican zealot wing wants. In light of this, the Republicans’ intransigence is especially blameworthy.

        Yes, the 2010 election left us with a split government. That’s not unusual, either in MInnesota or in the US. Whether this means that the voters wanted such a split is far from clear. For one thing, I’d bet that only a small minority of individuals voted for such a split. For another, the (huge) literature on “social choice” makes clear that apparently counterintuitive election results can and often do occur.

        This —

        it seems to me that the Republicans can hold out longer than the Democrats

        I don’t follow at all. Aren’t we all in or out of this mess together?

      • 6.1.2
        David Ludescher says:

        Paul,

        I don’t see where the Republicans are calling for sweeping changes. On the revenue side, they are calling for the same taxes; on the expenditure side, they are still asking for a 6% increase.

        Dayton (who is not a legislator, and who has no authority over the budget policy other than the veto) is asking for increased taxes and increased spending (17% previously, now reduced).

        And, no. We are not “all in or out of this mess together”. Some people are bearing the load of the slowdown more than others. If the courts and the “special master” do their job, all core functions will be funded, and the non-core won’t be funded until there is an agreement. So, if this continues, why should the Republicans agree to any revenue increases?

      • 6.1.3
        Paul Zorn says:

        David,

        I’ve discussed elsewhere (see 54.3.7 in the “Gridlock” thread, if you like) and won’t repeat in detail why I think the 6% and 17% figures are misleading. In a nutshell: the $32bn base from which these supposed increases are calculated should really be $34.5bn, and even that omits the $1.9bn school funding “shift”, which would boost the total to $36.4bn. In this context, and taking various forms of inflation into account (as alas we must) the “increased spending” Gov Dayton is asking for appears, IMO, not to buy any real “increase” in government.

        The R’s $34bn budget represents real (i.e., “inflation”-adjusted) cuts in government services even if we start with the (IMO misleading) $32bn base. Starting with the (IMO more “real”) $34.5 or $36.4bn figures, Gov Dayton’s proposed $36bn still represents cuts in real terms.

        With “inflation” (in the various senses I’ve discussed) at something like 7% per biennium, making no real changes to 10/11 biennium spending would imply 12/13 figures of something like $37.3bn, or $39.3bn with the schools shift. Compared to these numbers, $34bn represents effective cuts in the range of 9% to 13%.

        I suppose we can disagree on what “sweeping” change means, but these effective cuts seem pretty significant to me. Add in the social engineering agenda and I’m well above my “sweeping” threshold.

      • 6.1.4
        David Ludescher says:

        Paul,

        On the other hand, Minnesota doesn’t have the projected revenues to meet the governor’s requested expenditures unless revenues/taxes are raised. That fact alone is more important than the percentage increase or decrease from last biennium.

        The Democratic mantra seems to be that the poor will be hurt unless additional money is raised. However, the Republicans maintain that both parties agree upon “kids, cops, and court”, but that Dayton doesn’t want to agree upon these core services because then he won’t get his tax increase to fund less essential services.

        Frankly, it is impossible to tell which mantra is accurate. Dayton’s mantra seems to be playing better. But, I have a feeling that is more due to two facts: 1. Dayton wants to tax the richest 2%, and 2. The media is generally pro-Democrat.

  • 7
    Kurt Larson says:

    Griff,
    It would be interesting to see a poll that compares how people voted in the last election next to the poll above.

  • 8
    Patrick Enders says:

    Griff,
    I know you’ve taken an interest in David Brooks in the past. You really should take a look at his latest column. It’s not about the MN situation specifically, but rather it is about the parallel ‘negotiation’ taking place on the national level.

    His conlusions seem obvious to me, but I am surprised that he has finally figured out that the Republicans are, well, I’ll leave it to him to summarize:

    If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.

    A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

    The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

    This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

    But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

    The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/opinion/05brooks.html?_r=2

    He also goes on, in additional paragraphs with:
    “The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities…” “…have no sense of moral decency…” “…have no economic theory worthy of the name…”

    And it goes on. It really is an amazing column -- remarkable not only for what it says, but especially for who is saying it.

    Don’t take my word for it that Republican intransigence is the primary cause of our political impasses. Take David Brooks’ word for it.

    Oh, and do take his caution to heart:

    If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

    And they will be right.

  • 9
    Michelle Hawkins says:

    This is aggravatimg. I’m layed off as a result of the shutdown. The governor AND the Republicans asked for ideas to resolve the budget shortfall. Anybody try to email the governor?

    I did. I got a autoresponse saying there was no one to read emails and they would do so once the office was fully staffed.
    So how does one offer ideas if there’s no way to get in touch with anyone? I’d even talk to a republican legislator, if they would stoop to talking with me.

    The governor has proposed yet another $1 tax per pack on cigarettes. While I understand we smokers are American society’s lepers and are to be vilified at every opportunity, I just don’t see this as the best way as the revenue base is shrinking.

    A larger base, and more inclusive all classes, one that is definately not shrinking, would be to put that $1 tax on bottles and 6packs of alcohol.

    Ok, flame me for thinking such a thing.

    • 9.1
      john george says:

      Michelle- Unfortunately, you are a double victim of the shut-down. At least the offer of looking for advice made a good sound bite. As far as tobacco & alcohol “fees”, this wouldn’t affect the rich.

      • 9.1.1
        Michelle Hawkins says:

        John- I don’t care if the rich are affected. I bear them no ill will, really! If I had done what they had done and had their circumstances, I could’ve been rich too. I was more involved with my misspent youth and didn’t realize how fast life runs by!

        I was just looking at the available tax base, and tobacco has been shrinking for years. In fact there are some days I think I’m the only one left in Northfield that smokes! The comments and snidery can sometimes be a bit much. However, I do admit it’s a little less here than in some places I’ve lived!

        Alcohol tax has been proposed, but if it were me, i would make that the largest tax and lower the tobacco tax proposal. You can’t depend on a large conitued revenue off tobacco, but anyone who owns stock in any of the beverage/liquor corps will tell you business is booming and growing, has been right along with the population, gets even better when the economy tanks.

        I also believe in taxing any food with over 10 total grams of carbohydrates in 6oz. Not THAT would solve the budget shortfall!

        Let the fat flaming begin; I’d pay the tax, wouldn’t stop me from eating me ice cream!

  • 10
    Michelle Hawkins says:

    “Not THAT would solve the budget shortfall!”
    geeesh! I have been having trouble typing of late. Lost my prescription glasses, readers don’t do great and medicare doesn’t cover glasees, I’m out of a job etc etcv ROTFLMAO!

    it’s supposed to say NOW THAT would solve the budget shortfall.

  • 11
    Ray Cox says:

    There is very little to be gained by spending time trying to figure out who is ‘at fault’ for the shutdown. I can say it is Gov Dayton because while on the campaign trail he said he wouldn’t shutdown government to force a tax increase. I can say it is the Republicans who are holding fast to their belief that $34.4 billion of expected revenue is enough to spend to run Minnesota government and they will not approve a dime more. But regardless of those thoughts, talking about, writing about and wringing hands over ‘wo is to blame’ for the shutdown is a waste of time.

    What we need to work on is the end game on how to get out of this pickle. Very shortly the workers at my construction company will be impacted by the shutdown as we will not be able to get inspections of electrical work, elevators, etc. As the shutdown continues it will start to impact every single Minnesotan.

    My advice right now is for Dayton to back off the tax increases and agree with the $34.4 billion Republican budget, and for the Republicans to remove any social policy issues from the budget bills. We need to keep sound fiscal reforms in the bills, but do not need to include wide ranging social policy. Dayton should sign the clean $34.4 billion budget and get Minnesota working again. Then, over the next 18 months,the voters can decide if the “draconian cuts” that Dayton says are part of the budget are really unworkable for Minnesota. If they are, I suspect the voters will make appropriate changes. If the voters don’t object to the $34.4 billion budget then we just slowed down the massive increase in state spending.

    • 11.1
      Michelle Hawkins says:

      WoW Ray Cox! A sane voice of reason! Now if you could just get the legislature on board!

      I don’t like the cuts that are made in the “clean budget” but I’d rather have that than the argument and angst caused by a social agenda being included.

      The shutdown has put this retail customer service expert that adores dealing with customers, on furlough(spell that j-o-b-l-e-s-s) and since the state has control of the federal funds already granted for exclusive use of the older worker program, but republicans are out for senior blood(yeah I said it), I wouldn’t be surprised if those funds didn’t just disappear into somebody elses’ idea for their use.

      I don’t care whose at fault and the divide that has happened among minnesota & Northfield citizens as a result of unbending extremism on both sides, sickens me.
      Minnesota Nice has almost become a whisper from the past.

      Prove me wrong; anyone need a mature smiling lady at their counter about 20 hrs a week @ $8 hr? I graduated top of my class from two different customer service oriented courseloads with my love of dealing with the public as the main motivation to do so.

      Alternatively, if this budget isn’t resolved, I have figured out my money and will be needing a garage to live in around November.

      Fault? Doesn’t matter, it’s the consequences!

    • 11.2
      Paul Zorn says:

      Ray,

      Yes, the legislators should be focusing on the “end game”, not on who’s at fault. But the rest of us are not legislators, so we have limited ability, apart from jawboning with our legislators and with each other.

      As a political junkie I’ve offered my advice quite freely to my local legislators — thus far without notable effect. I don’t like this shutdown either — what else should we LGNers do to help Minnesota “get out of this pickle”?

      Your advice to Dayton — capitulate — is certainly one approach. But it seems to me to embody, your rejection of blaming notwithstanding, an implicit assumption that Dayton is in fact “at fault”. The quid pro quo — R’s abandon or delay social engineering — I find unsatisfying, and suspect Dayton and D’s will feel the same. Even if the social agenda made any sense, it’s unrelated to the budget.

      Michelle,

      I’m very sorry for your “furlough”, and I agree with much of what you say. But in what sense do you see the Democratic position as extremist? When inflation in various forms is taken into account, as it must in the real world, Dayton’s policy represents a cut, not an increase, in government programs.

      • 11.2.1
        Michelle Hawkins says:

        Paul,
        I don’t see much of the DFL extremist, however I have met some very wacked-out left wing fringe element over the last couple years. I assume it is a natural reaction, very human reaction, to the aggressive right wing extremists that have taken office, and their followers who try to violently shout down anyone who disagrees with their right wingtip agenda.

        When I was a child (yes before there was dirt), my mother taught me that in politics and social issues, the pendulum swings both ways. Over the years I have seen this to precisely true.

        We have wackos on both sides, it’s just right now the right side crazies are in office.
        I am very excited about the pendulum changing course soon, I’d like to see a day when it visits the true middle.

  • 12
    Kathie Galotti says:

    I ended up really liking this opinion piece by Tim Penny and Tom Horner--even though I didn’t expect to--and I think it’s relevant to this discussion….

  • 13
    Kathie Galotti says:

    • 13.1
      Michelle Hawkins says:

      Kathy,- I didn’t see a ink in your comment, so I searched it. IF this link posts, I found this opinion peice by those getlement to be EXACTLY right on the nose.
      Thank You Kathy, for the heads up!

      http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/125184154.html?page=2&c=y

      • 13.1.1
        Michelle Hawkins says:

        and once again, I apologize for my typing without glasses while using misdirected fingers!
        Can’t afford to get glasses replaced until and unless the state lets me go back to work, and SOON!

      • 13.1.2
        Kathie Galotti says:

        Grrr….I kept typing in the link but it didn’t work--sorry--and THANK YOU Michelle for getting it to work. That was exactly the article I referred to…

  • 14
    Curt Benson says:

    Hey Michelle, if you can’t find your glasses, you might try Zenni Optical on the internet. I’d be sure to google reviews on them too. The reviews are mostly good, but some have reservations. I haven’t tried them--but I know someone who has and she likes her $10 glasses (seriously). So for the price of 3 packs of smokes (couldn’t resist) you could be back in business.

  • 15
    Ray Cox says:

    Paul, what we all can do is talk…eventually things will get back to the people that need to hear it. One legilslator isn’t going to ‘crack the nut’ but when they keep hearing things over and over it may help. I try to reach out to as many people as I can with ideas. Last night I had a good chat with former Speaker of the House, Bob Vanasek. I told him since Gov. Carlson and VP Mondale had a go at solving the budget issue, maybe he and I should get togther and give it a try. I reminded him I was there for the 2005 partial shutdown, and in fact was the author of the tobacco fee legislation that resulted in the deal getting done. And I reminded Bob that when he was in office he was the leader of what we called the ‘woodticks’….DFL legisltors that broke from their party on many issues and sided with the conservatives.

    I don’t think Dayton accepting a $34.4 billion budget is capulating at all. He would simply be accepting a balanced budget that is on his desk. He may not agree with it, but we have to move on. The legislature has sent him the budget. I also think the legislature can find some way to raise added revenue, such as Racino and tobacco fees. But, if they do that I think the added revenue (of say $500 million) must be used to fund the state reserve balance. We are at zero in the fund balance with the $34.4 billion budget. The new revenue would fund the cushion that bond markets want to see and that Minnesota needs.

    The partisan culture needs to tone down. Today in the Northfield News there was a letter that listed several points to our local legislators to answer. One of them was of interest to me. The writer asks our legislators if they think they have a mandate for their positions, even though election victories were not huge. This thought has far more to do with Dayton than our local legislators. Dayton promised during his campaign that he would not shut down the government to obtain a tax increase. He also won his office by the narrowest of margains. I’d ask the letter writer the same question he presents to our local legislators…”Does Dayton think that he has a mandate to raise taxes” after winning by a tiny portion of votes?

    And Paul, while you may very well be correct that a $34.4 billion budget, when inflations are taken into account, is essentially a ‘flat’ budget, what is wrong with that? As I’ve said many times, our families, businesses, farmers, and just about every taxpayer in America has been held flat or gone backwards in earning power over the past 4 years. Is government imune from cutbacks or flat funding? The Republican’s plan increases spending 6.6%….Dayton has been pushing for a 16% increase. Isn’t 16% totally nuts in this climate?

  • 16
    Paul Zorn says:

    Ray,

    Seems to me a $34.2bn budget is not “essentially flat” from any practical point of view. It’s about $5bn less than the $39bn the state estimates would be require for steady-state funding in 12/13 of the services provided in 12/13. In this context, $34bn represents a fairly serious cut, pushing 13%. And even that may underestimate the problem’s severity, since it appears the $1.9bn school funding shift/IOU/default is still not being accounted for. (If anyone has different or more current numbers I’d be glad to hear them.)

    Government budgets are not directly analogous to family budgets. On the contrary, demand for state services often rises or falls countercyclically with family incomes. In bad economic times, like these, it seems not unreasonable to ask the luckiest for some extra help for their less fortunate co-citizens.

    In any event, it’s always fair to ask whether “we” can afford to keep funding government services at some former level. Nor must government necessarily be immune from cutbacks. But we should discuss this in the context of the best numerical information we can get about what cuts would actually entail.

    • 16.1
      john george says:

      Paul- Sorry, but you lost me with the $39bn figure. Where on earth did that come from? (Actually, where in Minnesota?) I thought the argument was between the $34bn. budget proposed by the legislature and the $36bn desired by the governor. ??!

      • 16.1.1
        Phil Poyner says:

        John, see 6.1.3

      • 16.1.2
        john george says:

        Phil- Thanks. There is always something in the fine print. Having just watched a docu-film tonight on the great financial collapse of 2008, I’m just a little more than skeptical of $$ figures.

      • 16.1.3
        Paul Zorn says:

        Thanks, Phil, for the pointer.

        But my reference to the mysterious 39bn was slightly glitched up by a “typo”. Here’s how this stuff should have read:

        … the $39bn the state estimates would be require for steady-state funding in 12/13 of the services provided in 11/12

  • 17
    Ray Cox says:

    Paul, my point is simply that $34 billion is a 6.6% spending increase over the previous budget….once the federal gift money is eliminated. Since we cannot count on federal gifts every year, we need to do somehting. Dayton has said we need to red ucespending about $3 billion and raise revenue about $2 billion. Republicans have said we should reduce spending to match our revenue….$34 billion. Their budget still spends more than the state spending in the previous biennial budget.

    As far as school shifts, both DFL and R’s have proposed retaining it as an IOU. Dayton recently proposed expanding the shift by anther 10% but the R’s said no deal. Minnesota has used school funding shifts many times in the past, without incident. When I served on the school board we had 6 years of school funding shift to deal with. I admit that several board members, myself included, figured we would never see the money and we should quit booking it on our balance sheet. But, we did finally get the full amount of the shift repaid.

    I’m upset with Dayton that he refuses to either sign the funding bills that agreement has essentially been reached, or sign a partial funding ‘lights on’ bill. Either of these methods would greatly reduce the pain that so many people are experiencing because of his shut down. I continue to wonder about the people that voted for Dayton with the belief in his campaign promise of not forcing a shut down to get a tax increase.

    • 17.1
      Paul Zorn says:

      Ray,

      We seem generally to agree on the various numbers involved in this , as you say, an effective cut from the status quo. What we can afford is perfectly reasonable to discuss — as is what it costs us to lowball or abandon public investment in the good.

      What seems clearest of all to me, though, is that neither the Dayton no (of course!) the Republican budget really amounts to “growing government”.

      Agreed?

    • 17.2
      Paul Zorn says:

      Ray (again),

      Sorry, my posting 17.1 seems to have suffered from some combination of inattention (mine) and a flaky airport wifi. One more try:

      We seem generally to agree on the various billion-scale numbers involved in the present brouhaha. So it seems to me a matter or arithmetic, not politics, that both the Republican $34bn and Gov Dayton’s $36bn budget proposals represent cuts from what the state has estimated it would cost to maintain status quo funding for present programs.

      Clearly we disagree on what’s best to do, and it’s perfectly reasonable to discuss what state taxpayers can prudently afford. But that discussion should take account of our best estimates (yup, some estimates would be involved) of what it costs (not just saves) when we lowball or abandon public investments in public goods. We pay some of these costs in money, and some in moral damage to a hitherto mostly good and humane society.

      There’s room aplenty for reasonable disagreement. But neither the Dayton plan nor (of course!) the Republican plan really amounts to “growing government”. The only real-world questions involve how much we’ll cut.

      Agreed?

    • 17.3
      David Beimers says:

      One advantage to a lights-on bill (beyond restoring 50% of my household’s income) is that it would get to the heart of the matter. Higher Ed and K-12 are close (about $300M difference), but Health and Human Services are miles apart. Instead of talking about differences in revenue, we could talk about differences in services. Who should be eligible for Medicaid? How much support should the state provide to counties for child welfare services? How much support should the state provide to the elderly and the disabled so they can live in their homes as opposed to nursing homes and care centers? How much support should we provide to parents of children with autism?
      Or how many mentally ill and dangerous individuals should be civilly committed?

      The whole “not a penny more” movement is a red herring. Let’s talk about what a $34.2B budget means and be clear about what we do and don’t value as a state.

    • 17.4
      David Ludescher says:

      David B.,

      I agree. The “lights-on” approach should be part of the budgeting process. This year, it makes even more sense because the judiciary is already deciding what are constitutionally mandated services.

      The “revenue-only” approach of the Republicans also makes sense. Last year, the Legislature met its budget by spending $2 billion of federal stimulus, and delaying almost $2 billion of school payments.

      It might be time for the Democrats in the Legislature to abandon Dayton and pass a “lights-on” and “revenue-only” budget. Then, they can spend the next 2 years figuring out what additional services justify additional taxes.

  • 18
    Patrick Enders says:

    This figure explains the impasse pretty well:

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/07/all-modern-politics-one-chart

    For those hesitant to click, it is a figure drawn from the most recent Economist/YouGov poll. It reports:

    “If you had to choose, would you rather have a congressperson who: 1) Compromises to get things done, or 2) Sticks to his or her principles, no matter what?

    All respondents:
    53% “Compromises to get things done”
    47% “Sticks to his or her principles, no matter what”

    Democrats:
    68% “Compromises to get things done”
    32% “Sticks to his or her principles, no matter what”

    Republicans:
    34% “Compromises to get things done”
    66% “Sticks to his or her principles, no matter what”

    The author of the blog describes it as “all of modern American politics explained in a single handy chart. Enjoy.”

    It certainly does an excellent job of illustrating what’s happening right now, both in Minnesota and in Washington.

    • 18.1
      Kathie Galotti says:

      Wow. That really does capture a LOT about both the state and federal budget impasses (is impasses a word?) in a nutshell!

      Speaking only for me, I am getting damned sick and tired of the equation of being or having “principles” with being “uncompromising.” I think we have, as a society, taken something that had some virtue--acting from principle-- to such an extreme that it’s become ludicrous.

      I also resent the idea that if you’re willing to compromise, then you are somehow “less principled” or weaker as a leader. That nonsense has just got to stop!

  • 19
    Kathie Galotti says:

    I also liked the op-ed piece by Brian Rosenberg, prez of Macalester College, that ran in the Strib yesterday. Because I am so klutzy about linking, I’ll past the url in here as well.

    I’m thinking maybe we should start an organization that distributes pledge cards to candidates for elected office, pledging that they won’t make any such pledges!

  • 20
    Ray Cox says:

    Paul, you are correct in that both the DFL budget and the Republican budget include reductions in spending from current statute policy. So we really are talking about how much reduction in policy is acceptable. But it is also important to remember that the R’s are proposing an increase of about 6.6% in state spending and the D’s are advocating for about 16% increase in state spending…if I have things correct. If Dayton actually used a significant portion of his new revenue taxes to full the fund balance, then his 16% increse would probably drop down to 8 or 10%. But he has not really said where he plans to spend his additional revenue if the legislature grants it to him.

    I agree with David L in that it is high time we have a partial funding, or ‘lights on’ bill passed. The courts are inching forward with more ‘essential’ funding every day. It is very bad precedence to have the courts running the legislative branch of government. And if it continues on for months, it is going to be very, very problematic in the final months of our biennium as there will not be enough revenue to fund things.

  • 21
    Ray Cox says:

    Over the weekend the St. Paul Pioneer Press had a decent editorial on the budget the Republicans sent to Gov Dayton. In part it says…

    “Actually there is quite a lot of new revenue in the Republican proposal. Their plan is based on $2 billion of new revenue generated by the current tax system. Comparing last biennium to this, that’s a 6 percent increase in revenue in a low-inflation environment. Inflation is projected to be a modest 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent per year in the upcoming biennium, according to projections from the Minnesota Management and Budget office. So the 6 percent revenue increase works out to twice the rate of inflation.

    And here’s a tidbit you may not have heard. Not only is revenue up 6 percent, individual income tax revenue is projected to be up 17 percent.

    Gov. Mark Dayton is focused on the very tax category that is already projected to be up 17 percent to the prior biennium. According to MMB, nearly two-thirds of this increase is due to capital-gains increases based on the “extension of the special 15 percent federal tax rate on capital gains.” Which means the “rich” -- the folks who tend to pay capital gains taxes -- are paying significantly more in income taxes as a result of their capital gains tax rate remaining low. The obvious irony being that the rich are paying more because their tax rate stayed low, which is the exact opposite of the Dayton approach.”

    I think this summarizes fairly well how tax rules and regulations can be hard to follow. This reminds me of the years following the Reagan tax rate reductions when the US received more tax revenue. The revenue went up because of changes made to the tax code regarding deductions and tax preferences. And yes, it would be quite easy to lower a tax in Minnesota today and increase tax revenue while doing it. For example, if we lowered the sales tax rate slightly from the current 6.875% rate, but applied it to more goods and services, we would typically see an inrease in revenue.

    • 21.1
      Paul Zorn says:

      Ray,

      Indeed, tax theory can be tortuous. But I kind of like the symmetry of affluent citizens paying more state tax because they’re paying less federal tax. Maybe there’s justice in the world after all!

      About this part:

      … This reminds me of the years following the Reagan tax rate reductions when the US received more tax revenue. The revenue went up because of changes made to the tax code regarding deductions and tax preferences. And yes, it would be quite easy to lower a tax in Minnesota today and increase tax revenue while doing it. For example, if we lowered the sales tax rate slightly from the current 6.875% rate, but applied it to more goods and services, we [might] see an increase in revenue.

      I like lower tax rates on a broader base, and agree it could “enhance” (ouch!) total revenue. Alas, I doubt it would sell to the Norquistian true believers.

      Speaking of lower tax rates, they’re sometimes asserted (I don’t ascribe this view to you, Ray) to “enhance” (hate that word) total tax revenue all by themselves—even without broadening the tax base—by stimulating the economy, freeing the rich from tax bondage, etc. George Bush 41 described this theory as voodoo economics before embracing it later on.

      Is this true? Never. Well, hardly ever, as Captain Corcoran famously says. (This is a clumsy, gratuitous plug for the Guthrie’s HMS Pinafore—silly and over the top, but a perfect respite from taxes, politics, and everything dismal.)

      Here and here are some sources.

  • 22

    Has Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers understood the word Comprimise : The people who are lawmakers are not helping Nursing Homes by this long drawn ou shutdown : Nursing Homes have given and given over the last twelve years and no body steps up to help with reform that we proponets in Long-Term Care have been offering every years : Lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves both parties

    • 22.1
      Kathie Galotti says:

      David,
      I could very well be wrong about this, but the sense I get is that Koch and Zellers would privately be willing to do some compromising, but their tea-party dominated caucus won’t go along. I guess the end result is the same, though.

    • 22.2

      Kathie : Thank-You but why are they be-holden to the Tea Party (That’s A Joke) Bachmann will not get far all the Tea Party does is make noise : It is time for leadership why be scared of the Tea Party (Sound Bites are good) Where is their solution : The Tea Party will cost us millions in this shutdown: For a group that preaches less spending we will end up spending more to get out of this Hole : Mind you now I am not a college graduate now : Nor am I the lightest Bulb on the Christmas Tree : But I would like to hear the Tea Party solutions and not just soundbites :

    • 22.3
      David Ludescher says:

      David,

      Right now the Legislature is powerless. It can’t meet unless or until the governor calls a special session, which he has refused to do. Even if they wanted to pass Dayton’s bill, they couldn’t.

      • 22.3.1

        THey need to have a firm deal first : The Republicans do what they do best is Grandstand : First a Deal then will a session be called :COMPRIMISE : That is the key word

  • 23
    Ray Cox says:

    David L is correct. Without being in session no bills can be passed. It might make a lot more sense for Gov Dayton to call the legislators back into Special Session. Let them be in St Paul working on things and talking with each other. That might very well form a coalition that will get the budget done. Gov Pawlenty called legislators back immediately into Special Session…and they were not long.

    My guess is the reason Dayton doesn’t want to call a Special Session is that he is concerned that the legislature will send him a ‘lights on’ bill that would temporarily fund government and get things back in order. He would then have to ‘tip his hand’ on the whole shutdown and either veto the bill or let it become law. If it became law, with our without his signature, Dayton would take the heat for the whole shutdown. As some have said, this is starting to look like “maximum pain for poltical gain”.

    Paul, I appreciate your comments on tax rates. I do not believe that a modest tax increase will eliminate existing jobs or prevent job growth. As someone who employees people, I hire them to do work. If I have work, I need workers. If I don’t have work, I don’t need workers. End of story. But I am still concerned about Dayton’s all out effort at class warfare in single mindedly going for a massive tax on a select group of people. And these very people are the ones that are supporting non-profits, providing working capital for businesses, and providing venture capital for new ideas. If you remove $1 billion from this group you will be taking it from these things. What is the plan to replace the dollars that these top earners contribute to non-profits that will decrease with a tax increase? What is the plan to replace venture capital contributions from this group?

    The whole tax issue reminds me of the doll my children used to play with….the one that when you squeeze it an eye pops out…push the eye in and the ear pops out….push the ear in and the nose pops out, etc. When you implement sudden—almost knee-jerk—tax increases there are always unintended consequences. Tax policy needs careful and thoughtful review. Tax code revisions need even more review.

    • 23.1
      David Beimers says:

      Maybe I’m wrong, but not being in session doesn’t preclude them from meeting and talking, does it? And again, I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that Governor Pawlenty only called the legislature back into session once there was an agreement in place. Wouldn’t it be more helpful for the GOP to develop a counter to Dayton’s last proposal?

      • 23.1.1
        Phil Poyner says:

        Dayton has stated that he would call a special session as soon as just as soon as there is a new proposal.

      • 23.1.2
        Phil Poyner says:

        Dang typos!!! Make that “Dayton has stated that he would call a special session as soon as there is a new proposal.”

      • 23.1.3
        David Ludescher says:

        David and Phil,

        It is time for the governor to call the Legislature back into session even without an agreement. The Legislature can pass a law without the governor’s signature. All the Legislature needs is some additional votes to get the 2/3 majority to override any veto. If the Democrats in the Legislature can put together a proposal, we would be able to skip the governor.

      • 23.1.4
        Phil Poyner says:

        And I’m sure that if a veto-proof proposal is presented a special session will be called. To do otherwise would be political suicide for the Governor.

      • 23.1.5
        john george says:

        Phil- I think the governor and legislators need to make a decision between suicide and homicide, by the voters. Right now, I don’t think anyone is happy. If we have to have a backroom budget rather than an openly debated budget, then we may as well not have an election.

      • 23.1.6
        Phil Poyner says:

        John, if I thought that calling a special session would get things moving, I’d be all for it. But without a serious proposal to discuss and vote on, the session could end up being nothing but a lot of political posturing and assorted other types of navel-gazing.

        I’m somewhat surprised that you would use a term like “backroom budget”, and furthermore would expect an openly debated budget. Most aspects of a budget are never openly debated…heck, most budgets are complicated and detailed to the point where you wouldn’t want to openly debate every part of it. The details are quite often figured out in the “backrooms”, sometimes even between staffers at the federal level. Ray could probably give an estimate of just how much of any one state budget might be hammered out in a series of “backrooms”, but my rough guess would be “almost all of it”. And elections are so you and I can decide who the heck is going to be able to attend (or send someone to attend) those “backroom sessions”, so best we choose them wisely!

      • 23.1.7
        john george says:

        Phil- Two things. You are probably unfortunately correct on the way our government functions. It has become so complicated that it is a little like the internet. It’s hard to explain (unless you are Al Gore), but it works until the server goes down. Well, I would say our server is down and needs re-booted (if not just booted).

        As far as Dayton holding out for a budget he likes before he will call a special session, I just don’t like that approach. Everyone in the state is being held hostage. There have been a lot of comments on this thread about how much he has comprimised. I don’t believe that spin. The legislature proposed a balanced budget which he rejected, and it appears he won’t budge(t) until the Republicans agree to fleecing the rich portion of society, all to fulfill his campaign promise. For a party that is so into eqaul rights, this seems to smack of segregation. If you make more than a million a year, go sit in the back of the bus. IMNSHO, the attitude bahind that concept seems driven by envy more than anything else. It is as if these people who make this much money just sit in the lap of luxury and don’t expend a cent to help with any social programs. Again, I just don’t believe that, and the evidence does not support it.

      • 23.1.8
        David Ludescher says:

        Phil,

        Frankly, the legislators should not even be discussing the state’s business without being in session. They have NO legislative authority outside of the session; it gives the appearance that three people -- the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Minority Leader make the laws outside of the constitutionally established means.

      • 23.1.9
        Phil Poyner says:

        David, is there a law that states that legislators cannot discuss the state’s business without being in session? I believe the open meeting law applies only to a quorum or more of members of the governing body, so there doesn’t appear to be a violation of that particular law. And of course they have no legislative authority outside of the session. Once a proposal is presented the special session can be called specifically so the legislators can legislate (Make or enact laws). Any proposal is worthless until the actual law is passed.

        John, regarding your first paragraph we are obviously in agreement. Regarding your second paragraph, as you stated, it is your opinion and you’re entitled to it. I happen to disagree with it, but then I’m also entitled to my opinion. We will probably never agree, but we can agree to disagree.

      • 23.1.10
        john george says:

        Phil- You are correct. If there were no different opinions, we would have a pretty bland world. I always appreciate your posts. They are well thought out and articulated. We all need each other in this world to temper our perspectives.

      • 23.1.11
        David Ludescher says:

        Phil,

        If the open meeting law applies, the legislators probably are violating the law by engaging in serial meetings for the purpose of circumventing the open meeting law. Even if a quorum is not present, there cannot be serial discussions which have the same effect as having the quorum present without the public.

        What the Governor and the Legislature are attempting to do is exactly what the law abhors -- making a deal and then going to the public forum to pretend to debate the issue. What they are supposed to do is debate the bills, pass the bills, and send them to the Governor for approval or denial. If it doesn’t pass, then the Legislature can re-work the bill and send it back.

        The judiciary is just as guilty. They have no authority to take over the executive function of running the government. All that they can do is determine that the state has a constitutional duty, which they aren’t fulfilling.

      • 23.1.12
        Phil Poyner says:

        I don’t know, David. There must be some subtlety regarding the open meeting law we’re missing. After all, remember all the “cone of silence” meetings? Those weren’t exactly open, and yet no legal challenge arose from either side. Perhaps the whole “for the purpose of circumventing the open meeting law” is harder to prove than would seem apparent.

        Regarding the judiciary, I must admit that my first reaction was “Doesn’t this violate the separation of powers?” The only way I could imagine it wouldn’t would be if certain services were guaranteed in the state constitution, in which case the judiciary could rule that those services had to remain funded as any other action would be unconstitutional. But the scope of what they have yea/nay authority over? I honestly don’t get it. Maybe someone else here has a reasonable explanation, as I have none.

  • 24
    Kathie Galotti says:

    Let me just understand something about special sessions. Isn’t it true that if Dayton calls a special session, the legislators are not restricted in what they can discuss and pass laws about? And, if that is true, what’s to prevent more energy being drained away from pressing budget issues and toward (what I consider to be) much less pressing ones like funding a Viking Stadium, defining marriage to exclude groups of people, banning women’s right to choose reproduction decisions, etc.?

    • 24.1
      Phil Poyner says:

      That’s a very good question. I’m sure Ray knows all about this, but it’s new to me. I found this: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/ss/ssspecses.pdf In part, it states that “Statutory law directs the governor to call a special session by means of a proclamation, to notify all legislators of the time of the meeting, and to inform the
      legislature of the purpose of the session.” It also says “Legislators decide what issues and legislation to consider in a special session and how long to meet. Governors initiate special sessions but have no authority to limit their scope or duration. Nor does the constitution regulate the length of special sessions, as it does regular sessions. Once they are called into a special session, legislators could decide to take up a large agenda and meet for a lengthy period—even, in theory, until legislative terms of office end and a new legislature convenes in regular session, in January of the next odd-numbered year.” It sounds like any number of bills, regarding other issues, could be presented to the Governor. Of course, the Governor could just veto them, but it would take time.

  • 25
    Ray Cox says:

    Kathie, you and Phil are correct—the Governor is the only one that can call a Special Session. The Special Session can take up any legislation the legislature deems suitable and can stay in session as long or as short as they wish.

    Right now I’m pretty sure Dayton does not want to call the legislators back because he is concerned that they will quickly send him a ‘lights on’ bill. That would give hime the choice of very obviously continuing his government shut down, or allowing govenrment to start up again because of the Republicans….neither choice is good for DFL politics.

    So, Dayton wants to try and get an agreement about the budget then get pledges from lawmakers that they will limit the Special Session legislation to just that….the budget. That has worked in the past. But as I pointed out earlier, it has only worked when the legislature was called back immediately and continued talking amongst themselves.

    This time we have a legislature that sent the Governor a balanced budget. He sat on it until the legislature adjourned, then vetoed everything except the Agrigculture appropriation. That leaves things in a very difficult spot. Legislators are not in St. Paul talking. They are not going to get together in little towns all over Minnesota. They need to be together in a group to get deals done.

  • 26
    Kathie Galotti says:

    Ray: I disagree. From my vantage point, the legislature dragged ITS feet throughout the session getting a bill together--meanwhile doing all sorts of social and other (in my mind) rather frivolous things--like those issues I mention in 24--in an effort to box the governor in rather than negotiate--serirously and in good faith--with him prior to the session’s end.

    Even in the last week of the session with the marathon meetings--right as we seemed to be on the brink of a negotiated agreement--they just had to snatch victory away by insisting on all sorts of irrelevant, draconian, social issues.

    If I were Dayton, I would also refuse to call a special session unless and until I got a clear sign that everyone was serious about negotiation and compromise. Without that, what’s the point of a special session?

  • 27
    Paul Zorn says:

    John G,

    In 23.1.7 (now way above) you say:

    … The legislature proposed a balanced budget which [Gov Dayton] rejected, and it appears he won’t budge(t) until the Republicans agree to fleecing the rich portion of society, all to fulfill his campaign promise.

    We can disagree about how much the “rich portion of society” (aka “job creators” in the GOP lexicon) ought to participate in addressing current budget problems, how “rich” should be defined, etc. But the rich, far from any danger of “fleecing”, have been getting richer for many years, as countless analyses show.

    In some sense all taxation involves redistribution of wealth. Yet not even the rockiest-ribbed Republican opposes taxation entirely. That progressive taxation is all about redistribution of wealth, rather than helping to pay for what a society needs, is just a right-wing canard.

    And then:

    … IMNSHO, the attitude behind that concept seems driven by envy more than anything else …

    Why insist on impugning motives? Seems to me the obvious (and charitable (and Christian …?)) explanation is that the Governor and others (like me, for instance) sincerely want to better support public goods, including a decent provision for the poor, and realize that doing so costs money?

    • 27.1
      john george says:

      Paul- You say, “…That progressive taxation is all about redistribution of wealth, rather than helping to pay for what a society needs, is just a right-wing canard…” You also say, “…In some sense all taxation involves redistribution of wealth…” I agree with the last statement. But my comparison of the sheering of sheep to taxation is valid. The sheep don’t have any say over providing the wool, the rich are in the same boat when taxes are exacted from them.

      When you say that the government has to pay for “..what society needs…,” the inference there being that the rich will not carry their share unless they are taxed at a higher rate than everyone else, and that they can afford it, then I call that a “left wing canard.” Neither of us is going to win over the other to our respective “side.” The question I have is how much “government” is enough? Just from the little my wife interacts with the government departments overseeing the senior care industry, it seems amazing at how inefficiently and wasteful these departments seem to operate with all their overlapping areas. This is an underlying stumbling block for me to overcome when entertaining the prospect of a larger government. That is why I (and I think others) would like some accounting of where this money goes. This is the reason I am leery of increasing taxes, no matter what part of society is called upon to pay them.

      Your comment about “…want(ing) to better support public goods…” sounds like Gov. Dayton and the Democrats are the only ones wanting this. I say that statement is based on a falsehood, and another left wing canard. I have not heard any Republicans say they want to take away the benefits to the poor. What I have heard them say is that the system needs reform so that is not more profitable to be on public assistance than to work. Our society has come to a point where an entry level job cannot pay a living wage. As people advance in their ability to earn, the “cushion” of public assistance gets thinner. Unfortunately, it stops altogether before a person can work their way out of poverty, thus trapping them. Is this the fault of the rich (whomever they are)? Or has the entitlement mentality (I deserve to be paid whether I work or not) taken over our thinking?

      • 27.1.1
        William Siemers says:

        John…
        What party consistently opposes living wage legislation and increases in the minimum wage? And what party consistently promotes cuts to programs serving those making the minimum wage?
        If you, ‘have not heard any Republicans say they want to take away the benefits to the poor’, then you haven’t been listening.

      • 27.1.2
        kiffi summa says:

        John: just one point out of many that could be made: in your long argument which justifies your thinking… which you are certainly justified in doing… when you then use a phrase like “entitlement mentality” it proves that you have little understanding IMO of the forces which may cause oppression of segments of society, and make it very difficult for persons to function within that societal structure.

        Just the use of that phrase in the way you used it, implies a pejorative position towards those who need help, and benefit by the help the general society is willing to provide for the common good.

        You use of that phrase appears to be judgmental, rendering those who accept any public help to be ‘lesser’.

      • 27.1.3
        john george says:

        William- To begin with, the gulf between “minimum wage” and “living wage” is insurmountable to many people. That is the point I am trying to make. I don’t hear the Republicans wanting to widen that gap, but I think there is a movement to close the gap. Their proposals do not include more government aid, though.

        Kiffi- Having been in need of government assistance when I was unemployed in the early ’80’s, with 5 children under 10 yrs. of age, and a full-time homemaker wife, I feel I have a little first-hand experience to speak from. My experience was that any money I made through odd-jobs was deducted from my state check. This kept me under their thumb until I was able to find full time employment in my profession. I have talked to people who would rather not have any money deducted from their assistance and are not motivated to get out of their predicament. It is this lack of motivation that I call “entitlement mentality.” What seems interesting to me is that Texas has almost no safety net, and people still live there (though I marvel at how they must make it).

        Also, my wife’s current experience with government funding for programs for the elderly is an example of how the goverment reimbursement is at a minimum of two years behind current costs. Reimbursement is paid as a percentage of what is billed all across the medical industry. That is why some providers have a cap on how many medicaid patients they will take on in a year. It is these types of things that I think need looking into. There is an article in the strib today, front page of the B section (I can’t find the link) which delineates some of the, what the author calls, “knee-jerk” laws that have been enacted. This same process has spilled into building code enforcement. It is interesting how this is stopping the private sector from doing business because of the shut-down. Even Carleton College is being delayed, according to the NN. It is these types of reform that would streamline government and lower the costs, but they seem extremely slow in coming. We cannot live with no government, but I think we could live with less government.

    • 27.2
      Paul Zorn says:

      John,

      Agreed, I don’t expect us to change our views. But the point of a discussion group is to … discuss … so I’m discussing.

      Concerning what you describe as left-wing canards … I don’t see much point in defending what are mainly your inferences and paraphrases, not mine. But on this —

      I have not heard any Republicans say they want to take away the benefits to the poor.

      here’s a comment.

      I don’t blame Republicans for not saying this — they’d be pilloried if they did. What strikes me more is how seldom Republicans in this mess say anything specific or numerical about how the poor and vulnerable will fare under their budget scenario. Seems to me the “rich group” gets R stroking while the poor get work-ethic bromides.

      Whatever the R’s may want for the poor, as you put it, everything I’ve heard or read of their budget points to real and painful cuts to social services, including health care, special education, and more.

      Some cuts (and some revenue, but let’s not get into that …) may be needed in these troubled economic times. But the Republican budget appears to cut human services disproportionately compared to other areas. If the R budget really holds education and other areas “harmless”, as they claim, then it’s a mathematical—not political—inference that human services must be disproportionately affected.

      • 27.2.1
        john george says:

        Paul Z.- Regarding your comment about the R’s “stroking” the “rich group” while the poor of society get the “work ethic bromides,” unless you are like Governor Dayton and inherit your wealth, the rich group got that way by taking the “work ethis bromides.”

        Regarding education and human services, since these two catagories make up somewhere between 75-80% of the state budget, making cuts in the other 20% won’t bring much affect. See my comment in 27.1.3. I am concerned that what the Democrats call “cuts” are efforts to “streamline” the government. Since these efforts are equated to taking food off gramdma’s table and books out of the school library, then, because of the emotional “knee-jerk” reaction, they are beaten down and we still do not have actual government reform.

  • 28
    • 28.1
      Kathie Galotti says:

      I heard it on NPR and my heart sank. Seems like the Tea Partiers (by their silence) cannot take “yes” for an answer. Sigh….

      • 28.1.1
        Phil Poyner says:

        Did you read the Governor’s letter? He didn’t seem happy about it…http://stmedia.startribune.com/documents/DaytonLetterToGOPLeaders.pdf

      • 28.1.2
        Kathie Galotti says:

        I did, Phil. I understand he sees this as the only way to address the stalemate, and I can’t say that I don’t respect that view. It’s just that I am not liking the MN this state is morphing into--one where we protect millionaires’ rights to profits and absurd preferential treatment so that we don’t have to fully fund health and human services.

        I think Dayton did all he could. He fought the good fight. He put the good of the state ahead of his own political agenda.

        I hope who did what and how many times stays fresh in voters’ minds in 14 months.

      • 28.1.3
        Patrick Enders says:

        Kathie,
        The current fight is only over if the R’s accept Gov.Dayton’s conditional surrender, which seems unlikely.

        I too am appalled by the vision which these current Republicans have for our state. The solution is to fight hard to undo whatever damage we can at the first opportunity. I agree, let’s see what we can accomplish 14 months from now, and do what we can to minimize the suffering they will cause in the meantime.

  • 29
    Patrick Enders says:

    What are the chances that the (R)s will take this offer?

    I’m guessing that “almost everything they’ve demanded” still won’t be good enough.

    • 29.1
      Kathie Galotti says:

      yep

    • 29.2
      David Ludescher says:

      Patrick,

      Governors don’t get to “offer” legislation.

      Now that the Governor has somewhat capitulated, he should call a special session and we can see what bill the Legislature presents to the Governor. That is how the Minnesota Constitution works.

      • 29.2.1
        Patrick Enders says:

        David,
        Your semantic point seems… odd.

        I called it an offer, not legislation.

      • 29.2.2
        Phil Poyner says:

        Who said the Governor offered legislation? He offered a proposal that he wouldn’t veto. It isn’t legislation until the legislative branch makes it so. Is that just semantics? Sure it is…but important semantics.

        And to call a special session without an agreement on the business of the session would actually be unusual, if I’ve read my history correctly. That’s why special sessions typically only last hours or days.

      • 29.2.3
        Phil Poyner says:

        Well….so much for my thoughts being original!! LOL

      • 29.2.4
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick,

        It is important. The governor has stated that he would put together all of the legislation, have his commissioners approve of it, and then call the legislators together to veto or approve the legislation. That is exactly backwards of how legislation is supposed to be drafted. We aren’t supposed to have unelected, executive branch employees deciding what is good law.

        If Dayton wants to have a particular bill passed then he should put it together without any legislative input, and have it ready for them when he opens the special session so that they can do their job by having a public debate.

        Our laws are supposed to be drafted by 200 men and women representing their individual districts, not by one executive branch official charged with looking out for the best interests of the entire state.

      • 29.2.5
        Patrick Enders says:

        David,
        I didn’t take any stance on the ideal way to draft a budget, or to enact legislation.

  • 30
    Ray Cox says:

    Not wanting to offend the many ‘liberal progressives’ posting comments, I do feel I need to clarify some positions on general conservative thought.

    Conservatives want government to do what government in the United States was intended to do. They do not want government to stray into all sorts of areas that eliminate free choice, free thoughts, freedom of association, freedom to be as successful as you can, freedom to be as unsuccessful as you can, etc. etc.

    Conservatives want government to have systems in place to provide proper tools for people to become successful in life. They do not want to force people to make use of those tools (education for exammple) but they want people to be aware that the choices they make in life carry consequences.

    Conservatives want government to opperate as efficiently as possible, and not over burden them with excessive taxation. They want government to take care of those unable to take care of themselves. They do not want to create a culture of dependency so that capable people are dependent upon government for their livelihood.

    Conservatives also generally believe in the private sector and non-profit organizations as a way to help and assist people in need, as oppopsed to creating larger and larger government systems to do the same job. Conservatives consistenly donate enormous sums yearly to a wide range of organizations that support people.

    All that being said, Republicans and conservatives do not always see eye to eye.

    • 30.1
      Paul Zorn says:

      Ray,

      Thanks for the primer on conservatism. Just wondering …

      1. Conservatives, no doubt, support “free thought”. Do liberals disagree?

      2. What’s the conservative view of social issues, like gay marriage? Are these areas into which government shouldn’t intrude? Or are these areas where conservatives and Republicans differ?

      3. Doubtless conservatives give money to charity. Do they give more, in some sense, than liberals?

  • 31

    Oh Did the poor Republicans finally feel the heat and Comprimise that is very big : Take your social issues and keep them out of politics : The Tea Party will not get far on soundbites alone : Dayton has done the right thing and Arne Carlson needs to keep his peanut gallery shut : Thanks for the past shutdown

    • 31.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      David, stop the sarcastic remarks. I realize you’re probably not directing it anyone here in the discussion thread but it’s still not conducive to a civil conversation.

  • 32
    Paul Zorn says:

    Ending the shutdown certainly has its bright sides, and I hope everyone laid off gets quickly back to gainful employment.

    That said, I see a lot more clouds than silver lining. I mainly blame Republicans for their intransigence, but blame whom you will, the “settlement” is disgraceful. Can-kicking. Contemptible. Really, really bad.

    Like several previous budgets, this one does nothing to address our structural funding deficit. On the contrary, this budget exacerbates structural problems by backloading necessary payments, like K-12 funding, and does nothing to repay existing debts, like the previous K-12 funding shift. And it leaves our most vulnerable fellow citizens less protected and worse off than before.

    Minnesota has been, and can be, better than this.

  • 33
    • 33.1

      I Hope that now that they have come to an agreement and when a special session is called they do not stray from the agreement and allow other issues to creep in such as a Viking Stadium : So sorry for being sarcastic but I ay what I feel and if our elected officials are so thin skinned maybe theyu should choose a different occupation : And I will not apologize for how I feel

  • 34

    Let’s now use this opportunity to find new and creative ways to care for and teach those who may no longer get govt funding. First of all, there are so many people in Northfield and many other places who have been recipients of life extending services who are now unemployed, but looking for things to do. Let them bring themselves up to speed to teach practical life lessons, and whatever specialized knowledge they have to the children. Let them also care for the aged while their children are out working. Let’s be a nation of givers and not so much of fighting for what you already have but won’t use people.

  • 35
    Ray Cox says:

    Paul, No offense, but I don’t think the conservatives are the ones behing the political correct policing of campuses and society today.

    Many, many conservatives feel that government has strayed too far into private lives. The libertarian arm of conservatives is rather forceful in this concept. Other conservatives I know would rather government stay out of a host of social issues, from marriage to ‘protected classes’ of people. But we seem to be here now and it is very difficult to get government to butt out.

    As far as conservatives supporting non-profits and other support groups, I believe it is common knowledge that conservatives give far more than liberals….at least in the past 25-30 years that has been the case. John Stossel had a good show on this on 20/20 some years ago and I believe he showed that conservatives give about 30% more than liberals in dollars, and far more in numbers of donors as well. (I think he also pointed out that conservatives donate way more blood than liberals.) I believe this is simply because conservatives believe in that the organizations and individuals they support are able to do more in a beneficial way than government. Many liberals on the other hand, seem to believe that government needs to be the one providing support and help.

    George Will also had an article on this issue and pointed out that while liberals generally have higher incomes than conservatives, conservatives are the ones that contribute more to NGO’s and non-profits.

    Paul, I agree wholeheartedly with you that the ‘deal’ brokered for Minnesota’s budget is a very poor plan. Dayton feels he ‘won’ because he got the Republicans to increase spending by $1.4billion. The Republicans seem to feel they ‘won’ because they got Dayton to let go of his tax the rich plan. In the end, Minneosta will lose on this deal. The growth of Minnesota’s budget is unsustainable in the economic situation we are in. Perhaps at some point in the future Minnesota could support this type of growth, but we do not have the economic vitality to support huge state budgets like this one.

  • 36
    john george says:

    For those of you keeping an eye on what is happening in Washington with the debt ceiling and its subsequent effects, there is an interesting article by Jim Jubak that puts the situation in simple terms that you and I could understand. The link is here:

    http://money.msn.com/investing/would-a-us-default-mean-disaster-jubak.aspx

    Whatever happens there puts out paltry state squabbles in perspective. From the writer’s perspective, it appears that nothing has changed on the international level since the 2008 Wallstreet crisis. Since we are so tied into the global economy, this lack of change is troubling. Talk about kicking the can down the road.

  • 37
    Kathie Galotti says:

    Ok, it’s over and it is ugly. Anyone know where details of the K-12 bill are to be found? I’ve seen summaries of many of the other bills on mpr and the strib web page, but can’t find details on this one.

    Let’s not forget this mess in the elections to come.

    • 37.1
      David Beimers says:

      Kathie -- You can find all the bills and summaries on the Senate website. I’ll try to link to it, but I’m not too good at it.

      MN Special Session Bills

    • 37.2
      kiffi summa says:

      Kathie… if you want a summary of the education funding bill, there’s a good one on Minn Post/ Beth Hawkins, their education writer , right side bar under the heading “Learning Curve”.

      She points out a cut that seems to have been “under the radar”… eliminating a provision that did NOT allow schools to cut bullying/violence issues in their schools in order to help resolve budget issues.

      • 37.2.1
        Kathie Galotti says:

        Thanks Kiffi. I found and am reading it with great interest!

        I’m going to try to link to it here but if I’ve failed to link correctly again, the url is

        htttp://www.minnpost.com/politics/

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