Letter: Shutdown is unnecessary
I profoundly regret that our budget situation came to a state shutdown. Gov. Mark Dayton did not need to do this. We offered three major compromises to him that he rejected.
The governor demanded that we raise taxes. Please understand these tax increases would impact everyone, not just the "rich." The Department of Revenue even issued a report that said, "Some of the burden would be borne in higher prices, some in lower wages, and some in lower returns to business owners."
The Legislature passed a balanced budget in May without raising taxes. It amounted to a $34 billion package, which was $3 billion more than last year and a 6 percent increase in general fund spending. We proposed $500 million more in health and human services and increased state education funding by 3.2 percent compared with the last biennium.
The deadline for putting a new budget in place to avoid a shutdown was June 30 and we were in virtual agreement with Gov. Dayton on six of the nine unfinished budget bills.
We asked the governor to call a special session so we could pass the bills where we are in close agreement and also to enact a "lights-on" bill to keep government running until the details of a total budget could be put in place.
The governor denied our requests and shut down state government. This was unnecessary and will result in unneeded pain for many Minnesotans.
I held out hope until the very end that we could take action to avoid a shutdown, or -- at the very least -- mitigate the impact caused by one. I joined other legislators and sat on the House floor late into the night on June 30 as we awaited word the governor was going to call a special session. Word never came.
I pray that this is a short crisis and that the governor does what he should have done in the first place: Call us in now for special session.
Rep. Dean Urdahl