Groups say shutdown causing job lossesby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A coalition of labor and environmental groups called on state leaders Tuesday to end the government shutdown quickly for the sake of jobs.
Members of the Blue Green Alliance said the mass layoff of public employees, as well as the idling of thousands of construction workers, is hurting Minnesota.
Bob Struve of the American Council of Engineering Companies said the 150 companies he represents in Minnesota could lose 1,000 jobs in a prolonged shutdown.
"Construction is a seasonal business, and the damage caused by a long shutdown means that jobs, projects will be moved to 2012 and possibly even cancelled. The damage to our firms could be very, very significant," said Struve.
Alliance members are also calling on Gov. Dayton and Republican legislative leaders to include a bonding bill in their final budget agreement.
Dayton proposed a $1 billion bonding bill early in the session, but GOP leaders never supported it. Still, Harry Melander of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council said he thinks a bonding bill could be part of a final budget agreement.
"We continue to be optimistic that the Legislature will do what's right for Minnesota, and try to put tens of thousands of construction workers back to work and provide needed infrastructure repairs that need to happen," he said.
Gov. Dayton and Republican legislative leaders are scheduled to meet again Wednesday afternoon to try to reach an agreement on a new two-year budget. The state is facing a projected $5 billion deficit that must be eliminated in the deal.