Posted at 4:03 PM on July 1, 2011
by Paul Tosto
It''s been hard to keep up with the blizzard of offers and counter offers made in the days and hours leading up to a Minnesota government shutdown.
MPR News reporter Catharine Richert's been doing great work answering reader questions on the shutdown. Below, she lays out the back-and-forth plans of Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton.
June 29, 8 p.m: According to their offer letter, Republican legislators told Dayton they would support new revenue if he agreed to a special session on June 30 to pass a handful of outstanding budget bills and a measure that would continue current funding for the Department of Human Services until July 8.
In the same document, the GOP offered an array of policy changes, including a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions, a cloning ban, and a requirement that people show photo identification at the polls.
June 30, morning: In his response, Dayton offered a new revenue proposal, one that would raise income taxes on Minnesotans making more than $1 million annually to bring in $746 million over two years. Until then, Dayton had been pushing a plan to raise income taxes on people making more than $150,000 in after-tax income and joint filers making more than $250,000 after deductions.
Dayton also proposed scaling back a plan that would increase surcharges on hospitals and nursing homes to bring in $300 million in new revenue over the next two years.
Republicans rejected the proposal.
June 30, later in the day: At this point, Dayton took his income tax plan off the table. He also agreed to pass a "lights on" bill that would have extended funding for all operations of the state until midnight on July 11.
June 30, 3 p.m: The GOP responded to Dayton's offer, proposing $700 million in new revenue by delaying additional school payments and by selling tobacco bonds to cover the remaining deficit. Among other spending increases, the GOP also agreed to increase the per pupil school spending formula by $50 annually to make up for additional school shifts, according to the document.
June 30, 4 p.m: An hour later, Dayton wrote GOP leaders a letter, saying he was willing to adopt the GOP's school payment shifts, but would not accept selling tobacco bonds because it was not a permanent deficit solution. As an alternative, Dayton proposed either reinstating his income tax increase on those making more than $1 million annually or a smaller tax increase on those making more than $1 million in addition to $303 million in new corporate tax dollars, $13 million in non-resident estate taxes and $32 million in new sales taxes.
June 30, evening: In a letter, GOP leaders rejected Dayton's offer, writing that "substituting an income tax increase for the tobacco bond funding can only be seen as a step backwards in our negotiations." They offered their short-term "lights on" bill instead. The government shut down at midnight.
Here are the offer sheets from the governor's office showing proposals and counter proposals.
This appears to be a good example showing why many distrust the media. Both MPR and the Star Tribune are indicating that the K-12 payment shift was a Republican initiative. The proposals provided in this post show that it was Dayton who made the offer and the Republican response was to cut his proposal in half.
I'm perfectly willing to be wrong, but It really does seem as if the reporters are trying to protect the Governor from criticism by K-12 advocates and shift blame to the Republicans.