Time is running short for the governor to call a special session so we can prevent a government shutdown.
Legislative leaders and the governor continue meeting and appear to be making progress, but we have not received word on if or when we will be called back to the Capitol. We have until midnight Thursday to either put a budget in place, or enact temporary funding to avoid a shutdown starting Friday.
There are no winners in a shutdown and that is about the last thing I want to see happen. The hang-up continues to center on the governor's proposal to raise taxes and spend $1.8 billion more in the next biennium than we expect in revenue, while the Legislature proposes a 6-percent spending increase that lives within the $34 billion in projected revenue. We sent him the largest budget in state history, but he vetoed nine out of our 10 finance bills.
The governor has not been receptive to our offers to compromise. We have offered to fund K-12 education and public safety at his requested levels and also offered to concede the tax reductions we were seeking. He has said "no" to each of our attempts at compromise. Interestingly, the governor still has not come forward with details of where he wants to spend that additional $1.8 billion he proposes.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press editorial staff recently noted Dayton's unwillingness to compromise:
“The governor is threatening to unnecessarily shut down portions of government to have his way on other, more contentious budget matters. We understand his desire to bring the greatest possible pressure to bear on the Legislature in support of his promise to raise taxes on higher incomes. Politics ain’t beanbag. But the unnecessary infliction of pain is not consistent with an attitude of compromise.”
Only the governor can call a special session, so the shutdown is in his hands. We are counting on him to provide leadership that will allow us to avert a shutdown, but he must act now. I appreciate all the input I have received on this subject recently and encourage local citizens to share their thoughts with the governor as well. Specifically, contact him and let him know a shutdown is fully avoidable and ask him to do one of three things:
1) Agree to the reasonable, responsible $34.2 billion budget we propose.
2) Agree to a temporary "lights on" bill which would fund state government and prevent a shutdown until a full budget can be put in place.
3) Sign the budget bills in which he already agrees with the Legislature (K-12 education and government operations, for example).
You can call the governor at (651) 201-3400 or email him at http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form.