As I write this letter, Minnesota state government seems likely headed for a long-term partial shutdown. Our District 13A representative, Paul Anderson, should be commended for choosing to not accept his salary during the state government shutdown, and we should all demand that our District 13 state senator, Joe Gimse, do the same.
I think that our Republican-controlled Legislature deserves most of the blame for this tragedy. From day one of the 2011 session, they chose to champion their unrealistic slogans like "no new taxes" and not a penny more as their only governing strategy.
They could operate this way knowing that the DFL minority could not propose and pass any legislation and that all Gov. Dayton could do was present his budget and that he would likely veto their inadequate cuts-only budget. Yet they continue to present a budget that would ruin health care for our state's most vulnerable citizens and -- again as in the past eight years -- delay promised payments to schools (some of which became non-payments).
The Republican majority says that their budget shows increases in many areas. That could be true with a lot of creative figuring and ignoring the fact that there are more students to educate in both K-12 and college, and that many of the people removed from MinnesotaCare insurance would end up in high-cost emergency rooms where they receive little preventive medical care. Our schools from K-12 through college need to be at their best to better prepare students to assist industry in competing in the new world economy.
One person, Grover Norquist, and his organization's "no new taxes" pledge -- which many Republican legislators signed -- could be responsible for much of this mess, which ignores the facts that there are more kids to educate and more elderly needy people in need of health care.
The principal Republican negotiators seem like nice people with a hard-to-please support group.
Something has to bend: Gov. Dayton has cut his budget a lot; what has the Republican majority cut from what they presented the governor?