Former GOP lawmaker: Raising revenue likely needed for budget dealby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Raising additional revenue will likely be needed in a negotiated budget deal between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders, former Rep. Paul Kohls said Friday.
Kohls, of Victoria, and former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, spoke to MPR's Morning Edition about the negotiations the two sides will undertake in the coming days. If Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature don't agree on a budget, state government will shut down on July 1.
Kohls said he doesn't think Republicans will or should agree to an income tax increase, which is what Dayton has proposed. But he said it's clear Dayton won't agree to the cuts the GOP has put in their budget.
"I don't believe that the state needs more revenue to continue to do the great thing that it does," Kohls said. "That said ... finding a place for some additional revenue of some type is probably going to be necessary."
Kelliher said both sides have been standing their ground and must give up some things in the end.
"Some space can be created in the negotiation for each side to save face and be able to walk out of the room at some point and have some victories but also be able to put some things aside," Kelliher said.
Kohls said he's "fairly optimistic" an agreement can be reached in time.
"I really don't think anybody wins in a government shutdown — either party, the governor, the Democrats in the Legislature, the Republicans in the Legislature — so I think there's going to be quite a bit of work over the weekend and good chance that we can get this done."
A shutdown "may prove a point," Kohls said. "But I don't think it proves a point or does anything good for the people of Minnesota."
Kelliher agreed that a shutdown wouldn't be good for anyone.
"It's not just one thing that gets affected, it's thousands of things that get affected," she said. "All of a sudden having the direct and indirect effects of a shutdown is really not good for the economy, either."
Still, both Kelliher and Kohls said if a shutdown happens, its effects could have a big impact on the budget negotiations.
"There's going to be a lot of additional noise," Kohls said. "I think the dynamics could change because I think the volume is going to increase and there's going to be a lot of pressure on both the governor and legislative leaders."
Kelliher said that as difficult as the budget talks may be, a shutdown will prove even more painful for lawmakers. Public sentiment quickly turned against legislators during a 2005 shutdown, she said.
"I think things were thrown at people. And a lot of yelling, 'Get back to work!' And I think that's what begins to happen after July 1," she said.
(MPR's Cathy Wurzer and Tim Nelson contributed to this report.)
- Morning Edition, 06/24/2011, 7:40 a.m.