Understand the state budget mess in 3 minutes

Posted at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2011 by Paul Tosto (60 Comments)

My MPR colleagues Curtis Gilbert and Molly Bloom are absolutely great at breaking down complex issues. Today they take on the state budget mess. Mouse over the box below, click the play button and check it out.

In two minutes, 53 seconds you'll be smarter about the budget and the challenges we all face.

Comments (60)

This is the clearest and most concise presentation on the subject I have seen anyone give. Outstanding!

Posted by S Johnson | June 30, 2011 12:45 PM

Nice explanation - thank you! Now can you do one Gov. Dayton's tax proposal? What income is considered to be the top 2%, and how much will those taxes increase? Will that be enough?

Posted by L Noren | June 30, 2011 1:22 PM

Thank you for this excellent explanation! I can't conscienciously support cuts to the poor and elderly, again, and allow those with the most wealth in Minnesota, to get off scott-free again. Those are my values and that is why I support the governor.

Posted by Robyn | June 30, 2011 2:26 PM

Well done MPR!

-- MrJM

Posted by MrJM | June 30, 2011 2:55 PM

L Noren: They've done a story on that already:


Posted by Beth | June 30, 2011 3:06 PM

Great Video, especially for us out-of-state Minnesotans. One would think that the christian-right GOP would want to help people in need and would be willing to spend the money on helping their fellow man.... I guess it's easier to talk-the-talk.

Posted by John C | June 30, 2011 3:36 PM

Granny is on assistance up north, oldest son has $80,000 in college loans and delivers pizza, divorced cousin works at K-Mart with no insurance, younger kids are out of school with no allowance and nothing to do cause the park isn't safe. After years of unemployment husband now cleans toilets and I've been laid off 3 times. Car is falling apart, house needs a new roof, grocery bill is breaking new records, and medical bills for things like necessary meds and glasses mean no new shoes. There are no vacations planned, there is no retirement fund, and there are no savings. At this point anyone who makes more than $50,000 a year sounds like a rich person.

Posted by lindamae | June 30, 2011 3:38 PM

I am under the impression that last biennium we balanced a 39 billion dollar total budget with 5 billion of federal money. So while we spent 34 billion in state money, the total budget was 39 billion. This makes the deficit more difficult this biennium because we relied on those goods and services the 5 billion provided but is no longer there. Is that correct? If not, where am I wrong?

Posted by RJF | June 30, 2011 3:41 PM

Well isn't that interesting. Nice little video. Get's it right down to that 5th grade level now doesn't it. You forgot one important thing to mention. Governor Dayton can get his 81.3 Million dollars for HHS if he tells the Legislature where he wants the $81.3 million to come from. It's ok to move the money from one appropriation to another, that's very ok with everyone. What is SO NOT ok is to continue to reach into my pocket and keep pulling money out of it to feed the beast. Read our lips Governor, NO NEW TAXES!! You have a signed, sealed and fully delivered budget at $34B. Sign it, and let's move on, you can discuss it again in a year when hopefully the economy is in a better place.

Posted by Bill | June 30, 2011 4:00 PM

Well, it looks like Bill would rather live in 1988 than face the facts of 2011. Sad.

Posted by Dan | June 30, 2011 4:18 PM

Those who share the positions represented by "Bill" always talk about taxes, whether or not they will see an increase. What I have not heard this group address is "what should all the people who will lose health care & other vital services do?" Let's consider the people in this equation, not just the pledges made to third-party groups. Good job, MPR, on putting together this video.

Posted by Lydia | June 30, 2011 4:21 PM

We are going to pay for health care for the poor one way or another. Either we pay for programs that insure the poor now and try preventive health approaches to keeping medical costs down OR our insurance premiums increase because hospitals and clinics have to treat critically ill folks that don't have insurance. An ounce of prevention...

Posted by Todd | June 30, 2011 5:15 PM

Video is well done and understandable. My question is why would the State's expenses go up by 5 billion dollars? That is nearly a 15% increase!

Posted by Kevin Klein | June 30, 2011 5:44 PM

Well said Bill!!! The working class will be taxed not just the top 2% w/ additional taxes--the farmer, the small business owner, anyone who purchases anything on the internet--the ones who are the backbone of our economy will pay for a nonproductive part of our economy. How does that work? or not?

This shut down is costing big money that will never be recovered because Gov. Dayton wants to increase taxes--I know I don't have any disposable income and I know people benefiting from HHS services seem to have alot of it for some nasty habits?

I have to manage with what my boss pays me--well we are your boss and we say live within your means.

No more taxes!!

Posted by Dawn | June 30, 2011 6:05 PM

The state's expenses are not going up. We spent as much in the last biennium, but we relied on stimulus dollars and delayed payment to schools to fill the rest of the gap.

Posted by jeff | June 30, 2011 6:07 PM

Bill, Dawn -

Corporate taxes have been going down progressively over the years (including the current phase out which will totally eliminate a revenue source by 2014). If you don't want NEW taxes, how about we just re-instate some of the old ones? I see the same sentiment over and over - businesses need all the breaks because they provide the jobs & the paychecks for everyone else, except they don't. Corps take and take and take and then want more to be "competitive" but then ship their money and jobs to foreign countries where the payroll cost is lower - why is it lower in other countries? Because other countries take care of their population with public health care - no insurance burden and lower wages required because those workers don't need to stockpile their savings in the event they get a flu. The top 2% are the beneficiaries of this twisted system and THAT is why they should share in the cuts. Just because you take advantage of the system doesn't mean someone who hasn't gotten the opportunity to do so should have to shoulder all the weight.

Posted by Annie | June 30, 2011 6:52 PM

I enjoy how anytime a budget deficit comes up the only solution people tend to take is GET MORE MONEY. Now I dunno bout everyone else, but when I fall short of money I eat ramen noodles for dinner, cut the frills, and sit at home and do nothing. Why is it that government seems to want to work the opposite. Oh we spent too much... quick borrow more. If anyone in the world ran their household like that they'd be bankrupt.

Then Everyone seems to want to argue vital services. I have a brother who is disabled and gets assistance from the state to help in his daily life. He's not considered vital. But feeding the animals at the zoo is considered vital. Nice to know he ranks below a monkey.

Stop asking for more money. Live on what you got and get rid of some of the abuse of the system. I've seen people using food stamp cards up at the casino to get gambling money. How bout take care of the programs we got and get rid of the poeple who dont need it. Gaurunteed you can save some cash that way.

Posted by Mark | June 30, 2011 7:31 PM


Please enlighten me as to which of my "habits" are nasty? What exactly do I do that deserve such derision? Is it because my wife and I own small businesses that have experienced over a 60% decrease in business and can no longer afford the insurance we used to pay for? I'd love to meet some of these people like Dawn who have incredibly judgmental, nasty things to say about those who are using the very services we helped pay for in the first place, in the very way they were intended to be used: temporarily, so we can focus on growing our businesses back and helping our economy grow by employing more people again!

Posted by charles | June 30, 2011 10:03 PM

So tell me something socialist know it alls, will you be more likely to keep your job, get a raise, get benefits, etc if your rich boss has more money in his pocket or when he has less money in his pocket?

Part two: Will your boss be more likely to stay in MN if taxes are lower here or if taxes are higher here? Do you think maybe they might leave the state and take their business and/or their money elsewhere? Why do you think Mr. Dayton's family hid their money in places like South Dakota and offshore rather than in MN?

Nice piece of liberal propaganda though. I think you managed to get all the emotional triggers in there to get people distracted and worried about the poor etc etc. You obviously paid attention in Socialist Propaganda Methods 101. Give yourself a red star for the day.

Posted by Matt | June 30, 2011 11:30 PM

I'll just tell my client of nine years, that the state doesn't think she deserves to have paid staff 'turn' her at night.
when she cannot do much on her own as it is. I would do it for no pay at all anyway.

Posted by D F | July 1, 2011 12:20 AM

Ok you guys all make me laugh. The GOP has to tell the top 2% of there party that we will not raise taxes NOW please donate money for us to run for office. The dems do the same thing with there upper 2% by saying we will rise taxes. Nether party needs these people to vote for them but they need there money to run campains to get all of us to vote for them! Its a shame the 2 partys can't come together to fix the proberm we all have if the goverment shuts down. Ohhh and this thing of the poor.... If we dont have these people working at gas stations, wal-mart, target, fast food places, and on and on. If a place like wal mart paid there workers $20 bucks an hour we would have to pay $10 for a gallon of milk and nobody would like that very much!!!!!

Posted by Jim | July 1, 2011 12:35 AM


I'm really sorry that you are afraid for your job. Like you, I am really angry about how the rich manipulate the system.

In contrast to you, I do not make excuses for the rich. People who put thier money in offshore accounts to avoid taxes is not high on my list. I also do not have much love for companies and rich folk that pump truckloads of money into the coffers of campaign funds to promote an agenda. Matt, you are eating up that propaganda and defending the very people who need it the least.

We do not need a rich aristocracy. Mark Dayton is a part of that group and it is ironic that a person has to be rich in order to be elected to defend those who have the least.

Matt we in agree in principle, but we disagree in action.

Posted by Andy | July 1, 2011 12:36 AM

So. Why does your "education" not mention that the growth "needs" for Minnesota include continuing the amount poured into Minnesota by the Federal Stimulus funds?

And IF Governor Dayton is REALLY serious about taxing the "Rich", why is he not talking about taxing things like trust funds? Mark Dayton only seems to want to tax INCOME, which his family earned and socked away decades ago.

"The rich" ... "The Top Two Percent" as defined by Mark Dayon - does not actually include riches like the Dayton fortune.

Billionaires with un-touchable trust funds and tax loopholes.

"I got mine, baby...you can't have yours."

Please check your definitions of "rich" and "top two percent".

Posted by John | July 1, 2011 12:40 AM


A lot of those people working "in gas stations, wal-mart, target, fast food places, and on and on." are moonlighting after they get off of work for the state, to pay for their house payment and family members A lot of those folks are just trying to get a job in this economy. I am really glad for you that you are secure enough in your income that you can have such a callus attitude toward those who make a lot less then you. I am glad for you and your family that things are going well for you. I really hope you learn some humility and appreciate what you have.

Posted by Andy | July 1, 2011 12:51 AM


Awesome idea John! I don't know many people who are in the lower half of income who have trust funds.

Posted by Andy | July 1, 2011 1:11 AM

This explains how we came to have the problem we have but it doesn't address the impasse as I understand it. We have the need for more money to cover entitlements which demonstrates civic "compassion" and for which there is certainly need. I understand that the Republicans think we should not ask rich people to contribute more because "jobs will suffer". More "trickle-down bs! Nothing is trickling! Gov. Dayton, himself a rich man, thinks he and others like him should pay more. I agree and I am glad he's holding out!

Posted by Richard | July 1, 2011 8:43 AM


You dont understand what i was trying to say my family of 4 makes 46000 a year. Thats better than some...yes but i dont fall under the line for being poor. I know alot of people that work these jobs and they DO NOT work for the state ( I work in the service industry) alot of them are singile parents that need heath & human services(CAPS). Im very unhappy that the people we voted for that run for office with money from rich doners cant come together to fix the buget gap. Ohh and i voted for gov. Dayton.

Posted by Jim | July 1, 2011 9:05 AM

Nice job on the presentation. How about making a similiar presentation on how each party has compromised to work towards a resolution?

Posted by Susie | July 1, 2011 10:22 AM

Regarding healthcare costs: I don't believe anyone can dispute the fact highlighted in this video: that healthcare costs are skyrocketing, and more people qualify and need public healthcare due to disability and loss of private insurance.

Paired with decreasing State revenues since 2002 due to a regressive tax system, this has led to a structural deficit in our State budget that will keep us going through this crisis every 2 years if left unaddressed. See http://www.mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/fiscal-policy/commission-outlines-minnesota-s-challenges

So! When are we going to consider following Vermont's lead and implement single-payer health care? Talk about a REAL money saver, for both the taxpayers AND businesses, which would lead to real economic gains for all. Plus, we would provide every single Minnesotan with health care. This is a win-win-win.

Senator John Marty is championing this very important and timely idea. See http://johnmarty.org/issues/health-care

Posted by Anna | July 1, 2011 10:26 AM

So, these rich people have to fund more of Minnesota, but then they also have to fund more of the U.S. economy, according to the Spender-in-Chief Owebama...and, since over half of the country relies on these people, how heartless can they be? This video is moronic at best, simplifies almost to the stupidity level of the idiot voters who put Dayton into office (by the way, according to SoS's office, almost 70% of registered voters in MN DID NOT vote for Dayton!) Let's play class envy one more time while the people with the income earnings AND ability to leave the state probably consider doing both. THEY are not stupid, and when they leave, THEN who gets stuck with the bill? Try taking Economics 101 again, please.

Posted by Smart | July 1, 2011 10:33 AM

Most Unfriendly Tax States, according to Kiplinger's

Try this on for size...buh-bye, "rich" retirees...

Posted by Mark | July 1, 2011 10:37 AM

Its so sad to see this inability to work together and to see people show such a lack of care for others. You would expect people in this state to show common decency towards those that are less fortunate rather than stereotype and marginalize them. I see no reason that the top 2% can't contribute more, and while I don't fit into that category, I have no objection to having my own taxes increased.

We are supposed to be a community, and a healthy community is a working community.

Posted by Kyle | July 1, 2011 11:26 AM

Bravo! This is just excellent.

Posted by Jodi | July 1, 2011 11:38 AM

Thank you Dayton for not backing down. I am not behind the state having to shut down, but I am behind you 100%. Your reasons for not giving in are good ones, so Thank you.

Posted by I'm in your shoes | July 1, 2011 1:16 PM

While the government shutdown and lack of budget negotiations is a tragedy, the real tragedy of the showdown is what it says about us as conscienceous adults. What is happening is the result of two parties holding strong to what they believe is the right thing to do. What is ailing the government is the same thing that is heating the debate within the responses/posts on this page: both sides have become so steadfast in their beliefs that neither side has the ability to entertain considerations that could be workable solutions- the best pracitices from all ideas - inclusion and civility. We all are holding on to our inalienable priviledges and liberties to tightly. While no solution is ideal the real question is - can we live with what needs to be a give and take on both sides?

Posted by Jodie | July 1, 2011 1:42 PM

So when I retired on January 1 and my income went from $40,000 to $20,000, should I have sent a bill to the people who make $80,000 to send me some of their money so I could just continue on the same path or should I cut my spending to meet my income? Seems like I should do the latter so why does the state not have to do the same? Hmmmmmmmm !!!!! Seems like simple math to me folks.

Posted by Marcia | July 1, 2011 2:12 PM

@ Marcia - yes, Marcia, it is simple math.

In 1998, the percentage of total Minnesota income spent for state and local government was 18%. In 2001, it was down to 15.5%. In 2011, it is 15.2%.

Where did the bulk of the decrease come from?

Well, the tax burden on the lower and middle classes have actually increased, so it has all been part of shifting wealth to the upper, upper income earners ... at the expense of the rest of us.

If Minnesotans paid the same percentage of personal income to support state and local tax as we did in 1998, there would be an additional $6.62 billion per year in revenue.

When Dayton offered *another* compromise last night to raise revenue by taxing earned income over the $1 million mark, he was asking that those who have benefited tremendously over the past few decades at the expense of the majority to step up.

His "Millionaires before Minnesotans" speech was brilliant and spot on.

Posted by Ron | July 1, 2011 2:31 PM

Very well said. I just get frustrated.... why is it in Minnesota we need to bring in all of the poor, sick and needy from every corner of the world? Why does that need to fall on our backs? We have a lot of hard working people in this state and we have a large number of people who seem to skate by with contributing nothing.

I know some of you will think I am just bashing the poor, but why not change the way we think about the poor? Lets work to get them out of the poor house, so that they can contribute to their own health care. We can do this with Limits on Welfare, by not making it financially beneficial for having more kids. We need to get people back to work, in jobs that pay better. The only way we can do this, is by promoting business.

With HIGH taxes, that does not promote business. Just think, the more companies we have, the more workers we have the more money goes into the kettle, the more we can serve the needy.

From a fianancial point of view, there is no way to increase spending with out increasing revenue. That is why it is called a balanced budget. And one way to increase revenue???? maybe we should consider not shutting down the places that actually bring money to our state, like the zoo, or canterbury, or license office.

Just frustrating. I hear Arne Carlson this morning on AM830 and he suggested they bring in new people to negotiate. People with Economics backgrounds. One from the Rep party, and one from the Dem party. One from instate and one from outstate. I don't know about everyone else, but maybe that is what this thing needs. New fresh eyes.

Posted by Ryan N | July 1, 2011 2:47 PM

The $34 billion in the last cycle was really
a $31.228 billion budget, PLUS one-time federal stimulus money intended to boost the economy.

I think the authors obscured this point.

It IS about health care costs rising at an unsustainable rate, and the governor wants to spend $5 billion more while keeping almost all other spending constant.

In the words of the Pioneer Press, "Rather than work out differences and sign off on large portions of the budget on which agreement is within reach, Dayton has as of this writing refused to get deals done and preserve operations in those parts of government. This is not compromise. This is hostage taking."

Posted by Jamie Wellik | July 1, 2011 2:50 PM

I just want to bring something up which is all too often overlooked, probably never even considered by most people. These questions of whether or not wealthy people should give up a greater portion of their wealth (or even an equal percentage) to help out the less fortunate require a consideration of what conditions are required for the possibility of becoming excessively wealthy. Though most of us like to talk about the value of work ethic, what is most valued in this economy is ownership, "money makes money". Hard work is actually undervalued, especially physically challenging entry level work, "anyone can do it", they are easily replaced. Owners of large amounts of resources that the rest of us need to survive have us up against the wall as they can set the wages and the cost of living. Early discussion of the concept of private property had it that it was o.k to acquire property which you improved with your labor and so long as you left as much and as good for others. We are now born into a world where this sage advice has not been followed, people own much that they do not mix their labor with and there is none left for the rest of us without doing the bidding of those who own it. So long as we pay rent and interest, the wealthy become wealthier while giving nothing to society other than something which they have an excess of and which they make more excess from. The infrastructure has built in the rights to this practice however unjust one could argue that it is. The majority of the wealthy were born that way and the money keeps on accumulating on the money. This system is ridiculously unjust, the idea of ownership beyond one's means of what someone else is lacking, the idea of claiming that because you are the owner you have a right to profit off of the labor of another is a very questionable practice. Lucky for those benefitting from this injustice, most people are too busy trying to scrape by to ever question all the false rhetoric about hard work and to realize that they are living in a completely unjust and broken system. Lucky for those at the top that the government attempts to give a little something back to these people at the bottom. While we hear people suggesting that we should get rid of the minimum wage can we not hear the sound of revolution coming? If we aren't willing to at least give some scraps to our dogs shouldn't we expect to be bit. All of the conversation of entitlement and desert is ridiculous, what is it that we decide warrants desert? Do we say hard work and mean ownership? Even if we're honest and say that what we value the most is ownership, do we have any stipulations about how one came to own what they own? It is such a crazy notion, give the most to those who already have the most. Reaward the kid with most toys by giving him more toys. The history of acquisition of property is an ugly one filled with genocide and slavery, how can we make this right? The conservative right who claim that everything should be taken care of by the market need to consider whether or not we would have any of these problems if the wages of the workers were higher. Those who argue that we should be able to do what we want with our money and the government is just going to mess it up need to explain why they don't just pay people more in the first place. By my lights, it is a very sickening thing that anyone in a position to decide what quality of life another person was going to have would choose a quality that they themself would not be pleased with. The wealth that is generated by those with excess comes from the labor of those with less, it comes from a poorly thought out system of profit and interest. A system that allows ownership of the means of another's survival such that the worker lacks bargaining power if he or she wants to eat. These ideas are not in the best interest of most people. What sort of person wants to hold onto a pile money collecting dust while they give nothing to society and then complain about people who give everything they have and get not enough back from society. It is amazing to hear the rhetoric about poor people mooching off the system ,this argument is easily turned around on the rich, they put nothing in and get everything out. This system is broken and it is time that we all realize it. Should the poor pull together and refuse to buy anything else on interest, refuse to buy from companies that have corrupt business practices, refuse to allow their little bit of money to go to the wealthy, what would happen? What if we all agreed that no one's time is worth more than anyone elses and that paying different wages to different people is like saying that one persons leisure time is worth more than anothers?
The wealthy are wealthy because they are being allowed to take a percentage of the fruits of other people's labor, they are being allowed to have in their possesion property which they are not improving, they are being allowed to do all of this and their rights to do so are protected by the government. Their right to do so is being respected by those who work for them. I am sick of these people talking as though they just got there on their own, through some sort of hard manual labor, NO, they got there with a lot of help from people who they are refusing to acknowledge for their help. As human beings could we maybe consider luxury something that we only partake in after necessity has been met? Could those supposedly religious right folks maybe consider the idea of Jesus as economist?

Posted by Jason Helder | July 1, 2011 3:03 PM

Bottom line is if Dayton got everything he wanted we would still be running a 3 Billion + deficit.

Posted by Barry Watson | July 1, 2011 3:10 PM

Thanks for that clear, concise and fun-to-watch explanation!

Posted by Pat | July 1, 2011 5:39 PM

Since it seems the stalemate is over HHR, what would happen if MN only gave the cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance to citizens of the United States? I don't know about your county, but I'd wager a guess that at least 75% of our HHR candidates here aren't citizens of our country.

Posted by Anne | July 1, 2011 6:21 PM

One thing that has not been mentioned thus far. Former Gov, Tim Pawlenty, borrowed money from HHS to pay other expenses for the State. He moved money. He did not increase income. Problem is, he didn't have a plan for paying that money back. That is a big piece of the deficit.

Thank you, Jason Hedler, for your comment. I agree. In addition to what you have said, I'd like to add that there ARE millionaires that want their taxes increased. They do have a moral compass. Unfortunately, their voice is being drowned out by rhetoric of candidates that want to run on "no new taxes". Too many people are unaware of how the tax system is set up; who gets taxed what, who gets tax credits for what, etc. These people that Gov. Dayton is looking at for an increase in tax dollars have more in tax deductions than most people have as an annual income.

Just something to think about.

Posted by Dee | July 1, 2011 7:09 PM

So they've agreed to delay payments to schools again? Great.

Posted by Amber | July 2, 2011 12:07 AM

This is for Bill: BOO!!!!!

Posted by Jaette | July 3, 2011 3:32 PM

I believe the 'impasse' is that for some reason the GOP has a problem with the wealthy top 2% paying, not MORE than their fair share, but just the fair share, dollar for dollar taxes like everyone else that works is paying. You'll have to talk to your GOP legislature about that.

Posted by Jaette | July 3, 2011 3:35 PM

The poor pay next to nothing. The lower middle class pay a little, the middle class pays some, the rich may more than the middle class but the super rich pay the same as the rich. Taxes go up with each income tier. Why should the super rich be exempt?

Posted by SBD Fool | July 3, 2011 7:12 PM

Tax the Rich...."pay their FAIR share"...they got rich off the backs of others...what utter bologna! First some simple facts from the IRS: The richest 1% of Americans pay 20% of tax revenue collected, the richest 5% of Americans pay 40% of all revenue collected and the bottom 48% of Americans pay nothing and/or even receive a CHECK paying them MORE than their own tax bill. So tell me about paying their FAIR share??!!??
Governor Dayton wants to raise the taxes ont he rich. We're supposed to think he's a saint because he's rich....well he did not EARN his money, he inherited it. He does not understand the concept of CREATING your own wealth through invention, innovation and hard work and sacrifices. The rich use less government yet pay for nearly all of it, how is that "paying your FAIR share"? I don't hate the rich because they have more than me, I hope to be one of them someday. I know when I go to work my President is there before me and still there after I leave. He deserves every penny he earns, just as I do too. Politics of envy!
As far as the cost of education and how we are evil for not wanting to give more to schools, let's first review where the schools spend this money. Teachers and Administrators pension plans are OUTRAGEOUS with little contribution from the teachers themselves. That's where our education money is spent. How come they shouldn't pay for their health insurance and contribute to their own 401k like the rest of us? Ask our school districts to review their own budgets and it would take a huge burden off the rest of the state.
The unnecessary NEED for government is killing our society and creating an "entitlement" attitude that is only going to continue to bleed our economy dry. I'm not rich...in fact I'm far from it (working 7 days a week, EVERY WEEK, for 6 years straight), does not mean that I'm entitled to what others have worked hard to earn. I went from homeless to homeowner in less than 10 years without accepting a DIME from the public. It can be done, if you have it in you, and I'm sorry but slowly Minnesotans are forgetting this excellent quality.

Posted by Collette | July 5, 2011 9:34 AM

let's also talk about the rising cost of healthcare. From working in the industry for more than 15 years, I do know a little about it.
People want the BEST quality healthcare that is possible. I understand that, but yet they do not think they will have to pay for it. Recently here in the Twin Cities we faced a nurses strike because their union demanded more pay, more staffing and better benefits. They deserve this, but then someone has to pay for it. Hospitals employ more than Dr and Rns. The hospitals must pay for the cleaning, cooking, and administrative staff too. Without those people, the hospital would not run. There is so much work done behind the scenes that the average patient does not think about when they look at the cost of their services. We've all heard the terrible stories of people being diagnosed with diseases too late because their insurance wouldnt' cover the tests. Well, if you want that then your insurance costs will need to be raised. Doctors are consistantly performing lab/radiology tests simply to be PROACTIVE for fear of a frivilous lawsuit later because they didn't catch the disease quick enough. This also raises the costs of insurance. When you call you're insurnace company to speak with a CSR, we all complain about waiting 20 minutes on hold, we all say "Hire more reps!", but in doing that it will raise the cost of premiums. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!! If you want PREMIERE services you will pay PREMIERE prices.
The government sponsored plans pay pennies on the dollar, sometimes even less than the average price, that providers need to make up the LOSS by charging more to insurance or private payers. The more people receiving their healthcare coverage through a government plan is less and less and less revenue coming into your favorite health care provider. And the media wants to demonize providers for dropping out of the medicare/medicaid system. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by Collette | July 5, 2011 9:49 AM

@Collette.....The majority of the rich inherited it, riches beget more riches. If they didn't get rich on the backs of others then how did they do it? If a person does it on their own through hard work then I'd imagine someone like yourself who has worked seven days a week for six years straight ought to be rich, why aren't you? It sounds like you've been working hard, why aren't you rich? We are all subject to the existence of the current infrastructure, we cannot opt out. As such, if we are required to be a part of this system shouldn't this system work for us?People do get wealthy on the backs of others. If Bill Gates had paid a higher wage to all of his employees he would never have gotten where he is. Why is his time worth more than theirs? We build these people up as though they somehow worked alone, the reality is that they have lots of help and they have the audacity to consider themselves worth more than other people, and we have a system that agrees with this mentality. The biggest question that I have is what sort of person wants to hold onto a big pile of money that they will never be able to spend in ten lifetimes while some people go without the necessities? Innovation, invention, hard work, sacrifice, these happen at all different levels of wealth, when does it cause wealth and who for? It creates wealth mostly for the owners, the investors, investors usually of money they were born into, the hard work involved is speculating as to what will happen if they invest money, the innovation is hiring innovative people and paying them less than their fair share, the sacrifice that they make is of something which they have an excess of sitting somewhere collecting dust. We really need to get honest about the reality of this, hard workers are hardly surviving, owners are doing no hard work at all and are thriving, hard work is not the thing which is most rewarded.

Posted by Jason Helder | July 5, 2011 11:31 AM

Jason, you have a very scewed vision of what owners are doing with their money. First of all that big pile of money will not be taxed. Dayton wants to tax their INCOME, not their wealth. A majority of owners across this state and the whole country have not received a salary, or a minimal one, because any profits made by their companies are kept in the company so they can continue to pay their employers when sales go down. So they can continue to pay the loans they needed to buy the equipment needed to keep the doors open. So they can continue to pay for the entitlements they promised to their employees, even if the doors close. And I'm sorry, if they came up the invention or they put in the time and energy to be innovated to move their company further, then YES their time is worth more. They should earn more because they gave their time and ideas to further themselves. The investors, stuck their necks out to GIVE money to back up someone's idea to further that inventor and help that person employ many others. Shouldn't they be rewarded for their risk?? it's funny when I hear DFL supporters talk about people with stacks of money, they think it's the Republicans keeping them rich. The #1 is Bill Gates and #2 is Warren Buffet- these are 2 HUGE contributors to the DFL party. Bill Gates came up with an idea that changed the world, so YES he does deserve to do whatever he wants with his money. Warren Buffet made ALL his money by playing Wall Street and betting his money against the value of the American dollar. He MAKES money when the American dollar TANKS. And he only pays himself a salary of $100k, so he wouldn't even be hit by the increase of tax rates. He gives and promotes other rich people to give their money to CHARITIES, not the gov't!!!! So it's not the people of the GOP are not willing to give, we just don't think it should be given to the gov't. Private charities can stretch a dollar 10 times further than gov't can ever dream of!! So rich people are not owned by the GOP, and DFL is not the only people that look out for the little people. George Soros, T. Boone Pickens....they all make their money by manipulating the DFL party to create policies to further THEIR agenda. Open you're eyes and realize that government is not the answer!! Regardless of party, they are their to get re-elected, not to make a better life for the residents of MN. Taxing the rich is a matter of principle. Just because they have does not mean that WE deserve to take it from them. I work 7 days a week to provide for my family. The other residents of MN should not be obligated to provide for me. The political climate in this state has forced me to decide to leave. Just like 1,000's of other productive people. If they keep chasing away the producers, there won't be anyone left to provide the others.

Posted by Collette | July 5, 2011 12:57 PM

the reason I'm not rich after working 7 days a week for 6 years, is because Minnesota has the 4th highest tax burden per capita in the US. I work 7 days a week to help provide for those that think they are too good to work 7 days a week.

Posted by Collette | July 5, 2011 1:00 PM

You are correct, my views are skewed. I don't believe in private property, I don't believe in profit, I don't believe in interest. I don't believe that anyone should make any more money than anyone else. I believe that the human race is a family and should try to figure out how to act like one. As such, I can't understand trying to do better than others, not very family minded. I can't understand wanting to benefit one's self at someone else's cost. I hold many skewed views that are laughably idealistic but that will probably resonate with most people who had any sort of spiritual upbringing as there is a viewpoint in most all spiritual practices throughout time that suggests that we ought to consider ourselves as a family. These are just old ideas being repeated as they will continue to be repeated until they are realized. My interest in government is whatever government comes the least short of being in harmony with the idea of "people before profit". If there are resources enough for everyone it is ridiculous to think that some would not have any resources. You say that government is not the answer and yet I don't believe that it is anarchy that you are advocating, ...why not? I'm allowing you to have the last word if you wish as I will not be posting anything else on here. Anyone wishing to discuss these issues with me can e-mail me @...jasonhelder@jasonhelder.com

Posted by Jason Helder | July 5, 2011 9:33 PM

Well Jason, you should have said you promote socialism/communism from the beginning. I believe that a person has the freedom to keep what they earn, and the obligation to earn what they keep. Of course I would never promote anarchy, but there is a huge difference between anarchy and an over-reaching government. There is a happy medium in the middle. Ask the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, and many other nations around the world how that "one big communal family" idea is working for them. I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. I believe that many Americans have become too accustomed to someone providing whatever they need, and its turning us into "whiners" instead "do-ers". I believe that my family knows what's best for my family, not a stranger in St. Paul or Washington DC.

Posted by Collette | July 7, 2011 8:23 AM

It is the ideologically-based terror of socialism (biggest socialist organization in America? The military) that is at the heart of this dispute.

If we had the socialistic Universal health care, health care costs would not be climbing as rapidly as they are under the greed-and-corruption driven for-(CEO's)-profit health care industry.

Instead we stick with this inefficient middleman health care model, which accelerates cost increases (while making the health care industry second only to Big Oil in profits).

And as this excellent video demonstrates, these health care cost increases are why Republicans are pulling this stunt and state employees are paying the cost by missing paychecks.

Posted by Albatross | July 12, 2011 4:29 PM

A fun concise summary of the $1.8B or so at odds. Thank you. However, what has not been presented with the same clarity is just what makes up the remaining approx $32 billion of the budget and whether cuts could be made in those categories that would enable the two sides to reach agreement on HHS.

Posted by Marshall | July 13, 2011 12:21 PM

I hardly leave a response, however i did a few searching and wound up here Understand the state budget mess in 3 minutes |
Shutdown 2011 | Minnesota Public Radio. And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it's allright. Is it only me or does it give the impression like a few of these comments appear as if they are coming from brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting on additional sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of the complete urls of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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