Minnesota Government To Re-open As Gov. Dayton Caves On Tax Increases
Jul. 14 2011 – 9:26 pm
By RICK UNGAR
Leaders of the Minnesota GOP controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton have reached an accord on a budget that will allow Minnesota to close its five billion dollar budget shortfall and re-open the government for business.
It must have been the threat of Minnesota’s bars quickly running out of beer and being unable to buy new supplies without their government issued purchase cards that did the trick.
The agreement, which provides no new tax increases despite Dayton’s campaign promise that he would levy new income taxes as a critical element of solving the state’s budget gap, is being viewed by both sides as a compromise.
The ‘give’ on the Republican side will include some $1.4 billion in new revenues but those revenues will be achieved by delaying payment of $700 million in state aid to public school districts while the remaining half will be raised by selling tobacco payment bonds. The GOP leadership also agreed to back off their effort to cut the state’s workforce by 15% and took a variety of conservative social policy changes off the table.
Of course, these social policy changes had nothing to do with budgetary policy in the first place.
Gov. Dayton agreed to some $3.5 billion in cuts to a number of state programs and, of course, was forced to give up on raising new revenues via state income tax increases.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers appeared with Governor Dayton and GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to announce the deal.
It was about making sure that we get a deal that we can all be disappointed in, but a deal that is done, a budget that was balanced, a state that was back to work.
Dayton added –
Nobody is going to be happy with this, which is the essence of real compromise.
Somehow, I sense that the Republican legislators are considerably happier than they are letting on while it is Gov. Dayton who is coming out on the losing side of this one – along with the people who will suffer the pain of the large cuts to important government safety net programs.
Mandy: “Hey Renner, we can bring the Screaming Monkeys out of hiding for now, I think they are safe!”
Renner: “Mumphf grrrrr…..”
Renner: “Mandy, good news and just in time! This big red ‘thing’ keeps attacking my face!”