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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Shutdown not necessary

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Dear Neighbor, I am extremely disappointed we have reached the point of a state shutdown. It is unnecessary and our governor did not need to make this happen. The Legislature remained at the Capitol right up to Thursday night’s midnight deadline to pass a budget and keep our state operating. But the governor continues to turn back our compromises and demands we raise taxes without providing details of where he wants the extra tax money spent. We offered numerous compromises in recent days and weeks. Last week, we even proposed temporary legislation to keep the state running for 10 days and eliminate the pain of a shutdown as the search for a budget solution continues. But the governor refused to call a special session where we could make this happen. The governor promised Minnesotans he would not shut down the state in order to continue pursuing tax increases, but that is exactly what he has done. The path he has dragged us down has something of a pre-programmed feel to it. We were on the verge of a breakthrough Thursday morning, but the governor then inexplicably changed his course, pulled back from negotiations and put a resolution out of reach. Then he refused to pass a temporary solution and delivered a speech which sounded like it was in the can days – or weeks – ago. And for what? So he can keep pushing tax increases. The Legislature sent him a balanced budget in May and have offered a series of compromises since then. The key is our plan spends the money we have available but does not raise taxes. We must acknowledge the governor’s increases would impact everyone, not just the "rich." The governor’s very own Dept. of Revenue reports that, "Some of the burden would be borne in higher prices, some in lower wages, and some in lower returns to business owners." Hard-working Minnesota taxpayers deserve better. We easily could have avoided having thousands of state workers being laid off and we could have spared citizens inconvenience of having recreational facilities closed during a premier vacation weekend. It is a shame that government union employees and the citizens of Minnesota are being used as pawns in this shutdown over political advantage. Maybe the governor simply is not capable of providing the leadership we need. His track record is that of a guy who gave himself an “F” grade for his performance as a U.S. Senator and fled from his D.C. office when things got tough. Please call the governor at (651) 201-3400 and tell him to sign the more than 50 percent of the state budget where there is agreement and do a temporary lights-on bill with the rest. Sincerely, Glenn
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