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.