Shutdown 2011: July 5, 2011 Archive

Around MN: running the parade gauntlet

Posted at 8:00 AM on July 5, 2011 by Michael Olson (0 Comments)

Lawmakers around the state got an earful and encouragement as they attended Fourth of July parades.

"They're trying to put the whole load on the lower and middle class," said parade watcher David Hines, 60, a car mechanic from Eagan who criticized Republicans for resisting tax increases proposed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

But the governor's approach was deemed a dud by others along the route of the city's annual Independence Day parade.

"No new taxes," said Mark Helmueller, 53, a sales executive who called out cheers of encouragement to Republican political leaders from Eagan as they marched past. "Spend less. Make do with what you have."

Whether it was along Yankee Doodle Road or parade routes in Afton and Apple Valley, spectators seemed united about only one thing when it came to the shutdown: frustration. (Pioneer Press)

MPR's Mark Steil followed third-term state Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, along the Blooming Prairie parade route.

"How's everybody? Good to see you," Senjem said to the people watching the parade.

As he moved down the street, there were a few cheers of support. But far more common were the yells of complaint.

"Go to work," shouted Laurie Heydt of Stewartville.

A similar story played out along the route in Saint Peter according to the Mankato Free Press.

A guy sitting along the Vernon Center parade route yells out to Rep. Tony Cornish: "You gonna get this straightened out?"

Cornish calls back, guessing the state shutdown will last "a couple of weeks."

The guy is none too pleased by that.

"A couple weeks? We got a detour down here."

A boost to private businesses?

Closed parks are costing the state around $1 million per week in lost revenue estimates KSTP, but reporter Nick Winkler finds that hotels and other private businesses are seeing a bump and are doing better than normal. The assumption is that more people are opting for hotel rooms and other accommodations in lieu of state-run campgrounds. The report doesn't provide hard numbers but will be an important point to watch and try to quantify as the shutdown continues.

More about the shutdown from news organizations around the state at MPR's MN Today.

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Dayton hopes to meet with GOP leaders today

Posted at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2011 by Mike Mulcahy (0 Comments)

The governor made the comments on Morning Edition today.

Elizabeth Dunbar has the story.

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Midmorning: Political reporters talk gov't shutdown

Posted at 9:24 AM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (4 Comments)

If you haven't tuned in yet, make sure to listen to Kerri Miller on Midmorning.

Her guests are Patricia Lopez of the Star Tribune and Steve Perry of Politics in Minnesota. They'll be talking government shutdown.

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DHS posts list of open services

Posted at 10:00 AM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (4 Comments)

There's been some confusion over which Department of Human Services programs will continue to operate during a shutdown.

To help clear that up, DHS's website lists what's open and what's closed.

Important note: It appears the list is slightly out of date, because it lists "food commodity distribution to food shelves" as a closed service.

We now know that food shelves will be stocked during the shutdown.

Below is the list, or you can access it here.

Open services

• Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) - prioritize security and treatment
• State Operated Services (direct care for people with disabilities) - prioritize critical services and treatment
• Enrollment in cash, food and health care assistance programs, including those newly eligible for the following programs: Medicaid/Medical Assistance, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Diversionary Work Program (DWP), General Assistance, Minnesota Supplemental Aid, Refugee Cash Assistance, Group Residential Housing, Food Support, MinnesotaCare, Minnesota Food Assistance Program and Adoption Assistance
• Payments to providers and vendors of those programs, including payments through the Consolidated Chemical Dependency Treatment Fund
• Quarterly grant payments to counties to support adult mental health initiatives and adult and children's mental health crisis services
• Child support payments
• Computer system support for county child protection workers
• Pharmacy payment authorizations
• Authorization of oxygen tanks and methadone for patients
• Authorization of Do Not Resuscitate/ Do Not Intubate determinations for people under state guardianship
• Services funded through the Alternative Care program; consumer support grants; and home delivered meals for seniors
• HIV/AIDS services funded through Medical Assistance and insurance assistance, dental, mental health, nutrition services, home delivered meals and case management grants

Services that would be open will be at reduced staffing levels; significant delays may occur.

Closed services

• Criminal background studies for applicants seeking employment in facilities licensed by DHS and the Minnesota Department of Health and in unlicensed personal care provider organizations
• Investigations of allegations of maltreatment of minors and vulnerable adults in DHS-licensed programs
• Fair hearings on appeals from clients of DHS programs
• Food commodity distribution to food shelves
• Payments for the Child Care Assistance Program
• Consent to adoption and approval to move children in and out of Minnesota for adoption
• Services for people who are deaf, deaf/blind and hard of hearing, including interpreter referral services
• Senior Linkage and Disability Linkage lines; website
• Cashier and walk-in assistance services for MinnesotaCare in St. Paul
• Enrollment of new providers in Minnesota Health Care Programs
• Information to law enforcement regarding the mental health and chemical health commitment history for applicants seeking handgun permits
• Dental services at the four state-operated clinics in Cambridge, Willmar, Brainerd, Faribault and Fergus Falls
• Some grants for housing, food, chemical and mental health services, and other community services
• Special Review Boards to consider matters involving individuals committed as mentally ill and dangerous or as sex offenders

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Politico: Is the Minnesota shutdown Pawlenty's gain?

Posted at 11:00 AM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (0 Comments)

Politico has opened debate on the Minnesota shutdown.

Here's the question moderator David Mark posed to the news outlet's "Arena" contributors. The online forum "is a cross-party, cross-discipline forum for intelligent and lively conversation about political and policy issues."

There is no end in sight to Minnesota's state government shutdown. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, backed by DFL lawmakers, says he will not abandon his pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy - a nonstarter for Republicans."

Which side has the better argument, and who is likely to prevail? Also, will the impasse affect former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's bid for the Republican presidential nomination? He's out with a new ad touting his record of confrontation with labor unions and Democrats in the Minnesota legislature.

Lots of unlikely characters have weighed in so far, including a Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, a former Republican member of Congress, and Dean Baker, co-director for the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Here are few highlights from the discussion:

Former Planned Parenthood CEO Gloria Feldt has three pieces of advice for Dayton if he "wants to win while playing Chris Christie in Minnesota Niceland."

1. Hire a world class public relations team to stay in control of the message, or the Republicans will once again convince people down is up.

2. Blame former Gov. Pawlenty for everything.
3. Call them revenue raisers not tax increases and maybe John McCain will help lead the recalcitrant Republicans to the table.

Iowa Republican Rep. Josh Byrnes says that the shutdown isn't Pawlenty's problem.

"I am sure the Minnesota shut down will be brought in a future debate but at the end of the day Pawlenty didn't work on the budget this session and he didn't have a say in the shutdown. It is true that Pawlenty is willing to take on groups such as the unions but I am not so sure people want a divider...I think people are looking for a uniter."

Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, who is a law professor at Washington and Lee University, says,

"Raising taxes on wealthy CEOs (who according to reports this weekend, got 23 percent raises last year) versus cutting vital public services for the poor and middle class. How could this have become a vital political question?"

Mark does raise a good question: how does the current budget stalemate reflect on Pawlenty's record?

I'm not sure how Politico picks its contributors, but it appears you can ask to chime in here.

Or you can just send your thoughts to MPR.

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Dayton asks for child care, domestic violence services to continue

Posted at 10:09 AM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (0 Comments)

In a submission filed late Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton asked Special Master Kathleen Blatz to allow additional services to continue during a government shutdown.

According to a press release from Dayton's office, those services include:

*Special education aid.

*Chemical dependency and mental health services.

*HIV case management and counseling services.

*Services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes.

*Child care assistance.

*Services for the homeless, the disabled, and other vulnerable Minnesotans.

The press release adds that Dayton will continue to assess whether additional services need to be restored.

"Because of the strict language of the Minnesota Constitution, there are severe limits on what state government can do without legislative appropriations," said Dayton. "Chief Judge Gearin's Order confirms those limits. We will continue to do the very best we can within the Court's Order to protect the lives, health, and safety of all Minnesotans."

Update: here's Dayton's submission.

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Dayton, lawmakers to meet this afternoon

Posted at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (0 Comments)

This just in from a Republican Senate staffer:

"Legislative leaders will meet with Governor Dayton today at 2:30 pm, location to be determined."

We'll keep you posted.

Update: MPR's Tom Scheck tells me the meeting will be in Dayton's office.

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Parks may be closed, but tourism continues

Posted at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (1 Comments)

Over the long weekend, I noticed a lot of Twitter traffic from folks who decided not to let the government shutdown crimp their style.

There were a few snide remarks about using rest stop bathrooms even though they were closed, some chatter about camping at the Capitol and lots of talk about using the state parks regardless of the shutdown.

Take Bryan Hansel, a paddling instructor and photographer, who tweeted this yesterday:

Enjoying the breeze on top of Lookout Mnt in MN's Cascade R. State Park. Tak'n back the park's from the #mnshutdown.less than a minute ago via txt Favorite Retweet Reply

Like Hansel, it appears that tourists weren't deterred by all those "closed" signs.

Northland's News Center has a story about Gooseberry State Park in Castle Danger, Minn.

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Mondale, Carlson organize shutdown commission

Posted at 12:45 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (5 Comments)

Two former Minnesota lawmakers have organized a panel to make recommendations on ending the state's budget stalemate.

MPR's Tim Nelson has the story:

Minneapolis -- Two senior statesmen of Minnesota politics have stepped forward to try to help end the state government shutdown.

Former Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat, said today they will assembled a blue-ribbon panel of political and finance experts to help resolve the state's budget impasse.

Carlson said he hopes the group will work quickly.

"Our fear is that large sums of money, large interests will come into Minnesota, and cause a freezing of attitude and a digging in, a retrenchment if you will -- making it very, very difficult for compromise to become a reality," said Carlson.

Carlson and Mondale won't serve on the panel. They say it will be co-chaired by Republican former state Sen. Stephen Dille and Democratic former state Rep. Wayne Simoneau.

Other members include a former Northwest Bank president, a Medtronic vice president and two former state finance commissioners.

The commission will also include Gov. Mark Dayton's budget commissioner, Jim Schowalter.

Carlson told reporters he hopes the panel will finish the proposal and present it by Friday, because of the urgency of resolving the budget stalemate.

Update: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty had this to say about the duo's commission:

"Walter Mondale ran for president against Ronald Reagan on a platform that called for higher taxes. Arne Carlson supported John Kerry, Barack Obama and other Democrats. It should surprise no one that they both support more spending and higher taxes in Minnesota. We did it the right way for the last eight years, with dramatically lower spending and tax cuts. I commend the Republicans in the Legislature for sticking to their guns, even when politicians of the past call for old-fashioned high tax and spend solutions.

"The last budget on my watch ended last week with a positive balance. The projected deficit for the upcoming two years is based on large projected spending increases, which I never would have allowed as governor. Minnesota government is shutdown because of Democrats' insistence on Obama-esque solutions to increase spending and raise taxes."

It's worth noting that Carlson left his successor, former Gov. Jesse Ventura, with a healthy budget surplus of nearly $2 billion, while Pawlenty left Dayton with a $5 billion deficit.

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Truckers want rest stops open

Posted at 1:15 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (0 Comments)

Truck drivers are joining the long list of groups going before retired judge Kathleen Blatz to ask for relief.

MPR's Laura Yuen report:

The truckers want the state to re-open freeway rest areas so that they can make their mandatory stops. The law requires them to pull over for 10 hours after driving for 11 hours.

John Hausladen is the president of the Minnesota Trucking Association. He says private truck stops are over capacity, so drivers are running out of places to park.

"They're doing the best they can, but this morning I saw a couple trucks parked on an entrance ramp to a freeway. They don't want to park there. No one wants them to park there. But where do you park a 75-foot unit? You have to do it."

The truckers group is arguing that the rest stop closures present a public-safety issue. It's also concerned because some truckers whose commercial drivers licenses have expired have been unable to renew them during the shutdown.

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Horner: no quick resolution to budget impasse

Posted at 3:31 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (0 Comments)

Former Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner was the guest on today's Midday.

He said he doesn't expect a speedy end to the budget stalemate because Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislators are only talking about two types of solutions: tax increases or spending cuts.

"If we keep having the same debate, we just keep solidifying positions between solve everything through spending cuts or solve everything through tax the wealthy, I don't think either of those positions allow room for either new ideas or even compromise."

You can hear the entire interview here.

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Afternoon meeting ends, no budget deal

Posted at 3:44 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (1 Comments)

This just in from Tom Scheck's Twitter feed:

No budget deal. GOP says they're still pushing for a lights on bill. #mnshutdownless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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GOP, DFL use shutdown to solicit support

Posted at 5:05 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (0 Comments)

From our Capitol View blog:

Both Minnesota political parties are capitalizing on the government shutdown.

In an email to constituents, the Republican Party of Minnesota asks for contributions of $25, $50 or $100 to "to build the resources all of our candidates will need for the next election so we can maintain our majorities. Our Republican majorities are all that stand between [Gov. Mark Dayton] and his desire to raise taxes on the hard working citizens of Minnesota."

"In spite of promising not to shut down state government over taxes - he did just that! Instead of calling legislators back to St. Paul to pass a temporary spending bill to keep government running while they negotiate, Dayton unnecessarily shut down state government - throwing thousands of government workers out on the street!"
When asked about the letter, House Speaker Kurt Zellers distanced himself from the solicitation, saying he doesn't communicate with GOP Party Chairman Tony Sutton.

"We're here to get our job done," he said. "I don't know or care what the party is doing to raise money.

With the subject line "Too far," the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is asking supporters to sign a petition to tell "Republican leaders to stop playing politics with the future of our state."

"We can't allow these government officials to put the interests of a few millionaires ahead of the needs of all Minnesotans. It's up to us to stand up and demand that a reasonable compromise be found. Speak out today and tell the GOP lawmakers that they need to stop their grandstanding and start compromising."
Dayton said that the asking supporters to sign a petition was "certainly appropriate. They're trying to get evidence for support for my position."

He said it's inappropriate for the GOP to be using the situation to raise cash, noting that the DFL letter makes no such requests.

But while the DFL doesn't ask for contributions outright, it's hard to miss the big "Contribute" button in the margins of the July 5th email. Click on it, and it takes you to the DFL's "Make a Contribution" page.

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What we know

Posted at 5:28 PM on July 5, 2011 by Catharine Richert (2 Comments)

At the end of the fifth day of the shutdown, there's still no budget deal. Lawmakers met briefly round 2:30 p.m., but left without any noticeable progress.

The group is slated to meet again at 1:30 p.m.Wednesday for more talks.

Here's a round up of other shutdown news.

Truckers are petitioning the special master to keep rest stops open during the shutdown. They say the closures make it more difficult for them to make their mandatory rests.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson are forming a commission to suggest ways to end the budget stalemate. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty weighs in, criticizing the duo for supporting "more spending and higher taxes in Minnesota."

Tourists aren't letting the shutdown crimp their style.

Gov. Mark Dayton is asking the special master to recommend that previously closed critical services remain open. His latest list includes state child care support and domestic violence services.

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