It's the eighth day of the shutdown. It will be the longest state shutdown in the nation since 2002 if it goes through Sunday.
No talks are scheduled for day. Gov. Dayton put forward the last offer on Wednesday. GOP legislative leaders haven't made a budget offer since the shutdown started more than a week ago.
The Mondale/Carlson Commission suggests permanent spending cuts and tax hikes on income, alcohol and cigarettes. The proposal wasn't fully embraced by any of the sides in negotiations.
Commission Co-chair Wayne Simoneau discusses the "third way." Listen to the interview here.
GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean writes an open letter to Gov. Dayton.
The Department of Human Services is a complex agency at the heart of the budget battle.
The Star Tribune talks to Minnesotans with an annual income of $1 million or more and finds that some are hostile and others are lukewarm to the plan.
Grover Norquist, who has never seen a tax he likes and said he wants to drown government in the bathtub, says Dayton is a "fanatic on taxes."
Gov. Dayton had a fifteen minute conversation with Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea earlier this week.
Minnesota's bond rating has been downgraded.
A judge ruled that licensing operations at DHS can continue.
Tidbit: The House and Senate haven't laid anyone off. A senate spokesman says they will reconsider at the end of July when carry forward fund start to run out. A House spokeswoman says they'll reconsider at the end of August.
The shutdown forces a Duluth mental health facility to close.
MPR says the shutdown's impact on business will only increase.
Iowa's lottery sales have ticked up as a result of Minnesota's shutdown.
A detective for the Commerce Department is at odds with his top brass over whether his work is essential or not.
Former Governor Arne Carlson and Wendell Anderson are a few retired constitutional officers who want to continue receiving their retirement checks during the shutdown.
Some visitors to state parks on the north shore are disregarding the shutdown.
Food inspectors will be shorthanded at fairs.
Under the Dome
DFL Sen. Linda Berglin took a job with Hennepin County. She wouldn't say if she'll leave her post in the Legislature.
MPR takes a look at the parallels between the budget battle in Minnesota and the battle in Congress.
Debt talks continue on Sunday.
DFL Sen. Al Franken reiterates his support for a top tier income tax increase.
The EPA clamps down on pollution spoiling air downwind.
The Small Business Administration declares Hennepin County a disaster area.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar announces the end of the ethanol tax credit.
GOP Rep. John Kline says cut the strings on federal education money.
Kline is also considering a bill that would block the overhaul of the union election process.
The House adopts DFL Rep. Betty McCollum's amendment to cut funding for military bands.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson says ethanol's tank may be near empty.
Race for President
The Washington Post says President Obama's political machine goes on offense.
Reuters says Texas Gov. Rick Perry is likely to run in 2012.
Tim Pawlenty asks Iowans to examine his record.
He also told the Des Moines Register that he hasn't been "campaigning in earnest" in Iowa until this week. The paper points out that he has made more campaign appearances in Iowa than every other candidate except Rick Santorum.
The New York Times gives Pawlenty a headline no candidate wants:
Will Republican Race's First in Be the First Out?
Bloomberg says Pawlenty needs to do well at the Iowa Straw poll.
Pawlenty ripped the Mondale/Carlson Commission as being "Jurassic Park."
He also said during a town hall that he likes Lady Gaga.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann released her first 2012 ad announcing fiscal conservatism.
Bachmann says in the ad that she won't vote to raise the debt ceiling. A former political adviser to President Obama criticized that stance.
CBS News says Bachmann's vote on Paul Ryan's budget plan contradicts her debt ceiling stance.
The Fix says Bachmann's decision to take strong stands on controversial bills helps her in the race.(1 Comments)
Going into the second week of the state government shutdown, and there are no talks scheduled between Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders. Dayton's spokeswoman Katie Tinucci says Dayton is meeting with his staff and DFL lawmakers.
"We're still waiting for Republicans to make us an offer," Tinucci said.
If the shutdown lasts until Sunday, Minnesota will have the longest state shutdown since 2002 - the year The National Conference of State Legislatures started tracking the data (info from NCSL posted below).
There were three state government shutdowns in 1991 - Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maine.
Pennsylvania's shutdown was limited because the governor has the authority to continue many services. Pennsylvania's budget battle in 1991 meant state employees continued to work but didn't receive a paycheck. That impasse lasted 34 days.
Maine's impasse that year lasted 17 days. It was considered an "on and off again shutdown" where state workers were ordered off the job for all but three days of the impasse. The dispute dragged on as the two sides disagreed over changes to the state's worker's compensation laws.
Connecticut's impasse in 1991 lasted from July 1 until August 23. The governor of that state was pushing for the creation of an income tax - which was opposed by the Legislature. Connecticut passed several temporary "lights on bills" to keep government running as the governor vetoed three different budget bills. State workers went back on the job on July 9 after the governor approved a stop gap funding bill. The income tax eventually became law.
Here's the info from the NCSL:
Since 2002, fives states have experienced a government shutdown after starting the fiscal year without an enacted budget. Here are their experiences:(5 Comments)
Michigan recently has faced two partial shutdowns. The state's shutdown in 2007 lasted only four hours-from midnight of the last day of the fiscal year until 4:00 a.m. on October 1, 2007, when the governor and legislature reached a deal for temporary funding. In anticipation of the shutdown campers had been asked to leave state parks the night before. The short disruption also resulted in decreased state police on the highways. Plus, highway rest stops were barricaded, drawbridges closed and traffic cameras turned off. The partial shutdown involved temporary layoffs of 35,000 of the state's 53,000 employees. In FY 2010, Michigan experienced a technical two-hour government shutdown as lawmakers worked on a temporary spending plan. However, there was no interruption in the delivery of state services.
Pennsylvania experienced a governor-ordered partial shutdown in FY 2008. The governor and the legislature reached a budget agreement nine days into the new fiscal year. After a week of impasses, the governor ordered nearly 24,000 state employees to stay home on July 9.
New Jersey's state government partially shut down in FY 2007. This occurred despite the state having missed its budget deadline in three of the previous five years without shutting down. Before the governor signed the budget eight days into the fiscal year, 45,000 non-essential employees were placed on unpaid leave. One of the more dramatic results of the furloughs was the three-day shutdown of Atlantic City's casinos for the first time since their launch. This occurred because state casino inspectors, who are required by law to be present in the casinos, were among the state workers included in the furlough order.
A partial shutdown occurred in Minnesota in FY 2006-the first shutdown in the state's history. Nine days into the new fiscal year the governor and legislature reached agreement on a temporary funding measure. This allowed the 9,000 state employees furloughed during the shutdown to report back to work.
Tennessee's state government partially shut down for three days in FY 2003. During that time, classes stopped at public universities, state parks were closed, driver's licenses were not issued and road construction ceased. Many services, such as public health, welfare, child support, mental health, prisons and highway patrols, continued to be provided.
WASHINGTON - With less than a month to go before the federal government exhausts its cash cushion, congressional leaders plan to meet again this weekend with President Obama to hash out a deal renewing the Treasury's borrowing authority and linking the agreement to a long-term plan to reduce budget deficits.
Confronted with the possibility that their leaders have put both parties' sacred cows on the table, Republicans and Democrats eagerly sought to stake out what would and wouldn't constitute an acceptable deal.
For example, Democrats want new revenue to make up a portion of the deal and have proposed closing tax loopholes to do so in the face of Republican opposition to higher tax rates.
"I'm not opposed to closing tax loopholes but it should be in conjunction with lowering the rates," said Republican Rep. John Kline, a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner. Kline said any such deal should be "revenue neutral" so that closing the budget deficit is achieved only through spending cuts.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are angry that President Obama has floated the possibility of cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took her concerns to the White House for a meeting this morning.
At a hastily-scheduled Friday afternoon Democratic caucus meeting, Pelosi told House Democrats that she warned Obama the caucus was "firm" about not wanting benefit cuts.
Although House Democrats have one of the smallest minorities in recent congressional history, they may have some leverage over the final shape of an agreement. As many as 50 House Republicans, including recently-announced presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, are expected to vote against an increase in the debt ceiling under any circumstances.
Liberal Democrats such as Twin Cities Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are likely to oppose any deal weighted heavily toward spending cuts and reduced entitlement program spending. But centrist and conservative Democrats such as Minnesota's Tim Walz and Collin Peterson may provide the crucial votes to pass any deal in the House.
"The gutting of Medicare and benefit reductions to simply preserve tax cuts, if you will, is not something I'm open to," said DFLer Tim Walz, who represents a conservative-leaning district in southern Minnesota, after the meeting.
Walz said the first half of the caucus meeting centered around another topic that's likely to make it into a final deficit-cutting deal: Medicaid, the joint federal/state program that provides health insurance to uninsured children, the very poor and some seniors.
One proposal floating around Washington policy circles for the program would involve altering the formula the federal government uses to pay its portion of Medicaid to the states to cut its outlays by $50 billion between 2015 and 2021.
Some Democratic governors are sufficiently worried about the possible changes to Medicaid that they called Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer today to voice their concern that states would have to make up the funding gap if the federal contribution shrinks.
"Many of the things they're proposing like this issue will end up costing more," Walz said, who said he's also keeping an open mind about any and all entitlement changes to cut the budget deficit.
A permanent deficit deal, Walz said, "will probably be universally distasteful to a lot of folks."(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - To bolster her support among social conservatives, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann has signed a pledge sponsored by a Christian group that asks candidates to oppose gay marriage and support other social issues.
Bachmann is the first GOP candidate to sign the pledge from the Family Leader, which is based in Iowa and run by an influential evangelical leader, Bob Vander Plaats, who was the state chair for Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign. Huckabee won the Iowa caucus that year in part thanks to the support of evangelical voters.
In addition to gay marriage, the pledge asks them to oppose pornography, vow "personal fidelity to my spouse" and reject "Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control." The pledge also asks candidates to commit to "downsizing government."
In a surprising absence from a social conservative document, the pledge contains no language asking that candidates oppose abortion.
Bachmann is one of several social conservatives in the Republican field, which also includes former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, both Mormons, are viewed with some suspicion by evangelical voters for past comments indicating support for abortion and same-sex unions.(8 Comments)
Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin says the state's former constitutional officers, including former Govs. Arne Carlson and Wendell Anderson, should continue to receive retiree benefits during the government shutdown.
The Minnesota State Retirement System has asked Special Master Kathleen Blatz, to keep funding state retirement checks for Minnesota's 14 retired constitutional officers or their survivors. Judge Gearin already ruled that retirement benefits should be disbursed for the state's 30,000 retirees but the MSRS said the 14 constitutional officers are in a special plan that is funded by the general fund. Gearin agreed that the monthly payments of $37,899.34 should be paid.