Shutdown will end with Dayton's signature

America's longest state shutdown could finally end.
By signing his name 12 times, Mark Dayton could end the shutdown this morning.

It took six months of arguing and 19 days of shutdown, but the legislature's special session finally passed 12 budget bills, with the last of them passing at around 3:30 a.m. this morning.

The bitter end of the longest state government shutdown in modern U.S. history was as partisan and personal as everything that came before it.

As the special session approached, and then soared past midnight, the spirit of compromise captured in yesterday's "handshake agreement" between Dayton and Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers fell away. When they debated the $35.7 billion budget that Dayton will wake up to find on his desk, legislators and political agents took one last chance to lay blame and point fingers.

After a recess to allow legislators to learn a bit more about the bills they'd be voting on, the legislature quickly passed the first six bills, including a higher education bill that cuts 10.5 percent from current funding levels to the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU system, and a transportation bill that cut about $50 million in funding to metro area transit.

DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis described the transportation bill as a "microcosm of what we see in the rest of the budget."

"It's shifting, it's using gimmicks," Dibble said. "It's papering over a problem in the absence of adopting a larger more comprehensive budget."

dibble shutdown debate.jpg
Dibble said the bills were "papering over" the states's budget problems.
The bonding bill that Dayton insisted be included was passed at $497 million, and includes a new science and nanotechnology building for the U, $42 million for an engineering lab at St. Cloud State and $56 million for transportation upkeep.

During the house debate on the tax bill, Minority Leader Paul Thissen gave a speech that lambasted Republicans for protecting the rich and refusing any targeted tax increases on wealthy Minnesotans. Dayton held out for those  tax hikes for two weeks, until finally giving up the issue last Thursday to end the shutdown.

"You didn't do your job because you shut down our state," Thissen told Republicans. "You didn't do your job because you didn't protect the people's interests, you protected the richest special interests. You didn't do your job because you didn't solve the problem, you begged, borrowed, and stole."

Never one to miss a chance to fire back, state GOP chair Tony Sutton aimed a late-night tweet at the Minority Leader.

Wow - Paul Thissen & the do-nothing DFL have a lot of gall. Just sit on their butts & collect a govt paycheck while GOP does all the workless than a minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet Reply

Sutton's dig might seem like a cheap shot, but will have some resonance. The budget that funds the state for the next two years is essentially a compromise between Dayton and the Republicans, with Democratic legislators cut out of the process.

If Dayton signs the budget this morning, the state will finally begin to awaken from its nearly three week slumber. The state's shutdown-preparedness website,, will begin posting information on the shutdown's end, including recall notices for the 22,000 state employees who've been out of work since July 1. 


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Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Since Senitor Scott Dibbble spews nothing more than dribble,  I will be the one who believes you have the ability to chew on actual numbers.  Also Paul Thissen seems to believe you're to stupid to understand numbers, so he provides you with nothing but rhetoric and talking points.  I mean come on!  Everyone knows that the Republicans led legislation had gave the Govenor mulitipal budgets.   It was the Govenor that decided not to sign them, thus allowing a state shutdown.  Everyone remember 2006?   It was Tim Pawlentys fault for the shutdown then, and not the Democrat led legislation for coming up with bills Tim wouldn't sign.   Oh I forgot, Paul Thissen thinks Minnesota's DFL constituency is Dumb and can't remember yesterday, so of course Paul would say such things. 

Ok, so here is the best summary you will get anywhere.   (don't doubt me)And I know, you DFL, are all smart enough, to understand these numbers. (despite Minneapolis having over 25% of its population, over 26 years old, having no high school diploma per the 2009 census)

EducationSpending: $13.6 billion, a 14-percent increase.Policy and reform: Creates new teacher and principal evaluation plans; repeals mandates; sunsets integration aid funding in 2013 and sets up a plan to replace it with something more effective; contains pilot program grants to help large schools with funding equity.----------

Environment & EnergySpending: $252 million, a 19-percent reduction from the previous budget. Policy and reform: Streamlining the five authorities the state uses to manage water programs; gets the DNR out of the private nursery business.----------

Health & Human ServicesSpending: $11.3 billion, a 11.1-percent increase.Policy and reform: Eliminating the provider tax completely by 2019; giving low-income adults without children the chance to buy private coverage instead of enrolling in a state program; EBT and welfare reform; providing more flexibility to find the best care available through waivers.----------

Higher EducationSpending: $2.6 billion, a 13-percent reduction.Policy and reform: Sets performance benchmarks for schools to achieve before they receive their complete funding; caps tuition at 2-year colleges; increases funding for the Work Study Program; and maintains funding for Post secondary Child Care grants.----------

Public SafetySpending: $1.8 billion, a 2.7-percent reduction.Policy and reform: raises co-pays for inmates’ health care visits; prioritizes state cases over federal cases for civil legal services; treats juveniles sold into prostitution as victims rather than criminals.----------

State GovernmentSpending: $905 million, a 2-percent increase.Policy and reform: technology consolidation; reducing job classes, 6-percent workforce reduction; gain-sharing for state employees who develop ideas that save money; auditing the state employees’ health care program; and developing a pay-for-performance review for state employees.----------

TaxesSpending: $2.9 billion, a 4.9-percent reduction. No tax increases.Policy and reform: maintains the increase in the Property Tax Refund; reduces local government aids, provides incentives to attract technology data centers; adds federal taxes to the Tax Incidence Study.----------

TransportationSpending: $125.6 million, a 25-percent reduction. Most transportation spending is done in dedicated funds paid for by gas taxes, motor vehicle taxes, etc.Policy and reform: Requires transit planners to estimate capital and operating costs for new rail lines.

Your Mom
Your Mom

Why would Sutton's cheap shot have some resonance?  The DFL didn't lock themselves out of the process, it was the GOP that refused to allow them in.  Of course the GOP have this svengali like power to convince people that rich people (oh I'm sorry, "Job Creators") are getting screwed by taxes and so are you.  Even though that's not true either.  I'm sure if they just repeat it enough times, the sheeple will respond as expected.

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