Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunday People's Press Letter to the Editor

As our state comes closer to a shutdown, some facts are in order for people to understand how we got to this point.

• The Legislature passed a balanced budget with a 6 percent increase in spending. The governor vetoed these bills because he demanded a 27 percent increase in spending.

• Since the bills were vetoed, the GOP has offered three compromises, including matching the DFL budgets for public safety and K-12 education, and removing more than $200 million in business tax cuts.

• The Legislature is waiting on the governor to be called back into session. According to the state constitution, no bills can even be considered until the governor calls the Legislature into special session.

• House Republicans have a bill written and ready to go that would fund the state government at current levels until a deal can be reached. This would avert a shutdown, but the governor still refuses to allow it.

A state government shutdown will be easy for some, painful for others, and an inconvenience to many. But one fact is clear: A state government shutdown is in the hands of the governor.

Dave Thul
Co-chair, Steele County Republican Party

Friday, June 24, 2011

Washing county says Dayton shutdown is 'ridiculous'

The Washington County Board unanimously agreed June 14 to send a letter advising Gov. Mark Dayton to accept a budget proposal as presented by the State Legislature. State government will shutdown July 1 if officials fail to reach a budget agreement.

It's fairly common to see cities wade into politics that is echelons above them, such as when the Berkley city council calls for an end to the Iraq War.  But Washington County is risking trouble here by taking a stand on the budget debate.  Washington County, like nearly every other county across Minnesota, receives aid from the state.  So when they vote unanimously to tell the governor he needs to compromise, they aren't just passing a motion to make themselves feel good.

District 4 Commissioner Autumn Lehrke said the governor could end the budget standoff if he signed a budget bill approved by the Republican-controlled State Legislature. Dayton, a Democrat, said the bill does not provide enough funding for state programs and proposed a tax increase on the state’s wealthiest residents to balance the budget.

“I don’t think it’s worth a government shutdown to increase taxes,” said Lehrke. “Overall (the Legislature) is increasing spending by 6-percent but they’re not increasing taxes.”

The DFL mantra has been that Minnesota would suffer under a GOP budget, but Washington County knows better-that a shutdown will hurt everyone and that we can't afford yet another tax increase.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

OPP lays the blame at Dayton's feet

From the Sunday OpEd-

When it comes to pointing fingers and passing blame for the budget stalemate in St. Paul, Gov. Mark Dayton has done well. In fact, it has become for him almost an art form. But the truth of the matter is that if anyone is digging in his heels and not budging in the budget negotiations, it is the governor himself.

Consider: On Thursday, GOP legislative leaders presented the governor with yet another proposal. In an effort to solve the budget crisis and avert a government shutdown, the Republicans offered to drop their call for $200 million in tax cuts if the governor would abandon his call for $1.8 billion in tax increases. What’s more, they said that if the governor agreed, the money raised from eliminating those tax cuts would be spent on Mr. Dayton’s priorities — education, the environment, transportation, Local Government Aid, and flood and disaster relief.”

The governor’s reaction? No deal.

In fact, the governor went so far as to call it a “non-proposal” and compared the Republican’s actions to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Well, if the GOP leaders are rearranging the chairs, then surely Gov. Dayton must be the iceberg itself — frozen to a proposal and not willing to change.

The whole idea of negotiating is that one side offers something, and the other side offers something in return.  The GOP gave up a fundamental component of conservative principles (cutting high taxes is good for the economy) and Governor Dayton couldn't even be bothered to look at the offer.  If Dayton follows through on his threat to shut the government down (if he actually has the courage) the blame for the pain will be all his.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011