Why Minnesota Is Headed For A Government Shutdown

mark dayton

Time is running out for Minnesota lawmakers to avoid a July 1 government shutdown.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton are at an impasse over how to close a $5 billion two-year budget deficit. Dayton, who was elected on a campaign of taxing the rich, wants to offset spending cuts by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans. Republicans want to balance the budget entirely with cuts.

For now, neither side is budging. If they can’t reach an agreement by the end of the fiscal year, two-thirds of the state’s employees will be sent home without a job at the end of the month. About 40,000 state employees received layoff notices last Friday, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Under Dayton’s latest shutdown plan, 46 state agencies will close entirely, while 29 agencies will remain open with minimal staffing.

State parks and highway rest stops will likely shutdown, potentially losing a substantial amount of revenue for the state over the Fourth of July weekend. A shutdown could also pose major problems for state contractors, vendors and nonprofits who depend on state funding to provide social services. 

CNN notes that government shutdowns are relatively rare. There have been only six since 2002, including a partial shutdown in Minnesota in 2005. Around 9,000 workers were furloughed during that shutdown, which lasted eight days.

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