43° and Mostly cloudy at 2:02am in Pine City

Day 1: Government Shutdown A Reality, Happy 4th Of July

Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 10:28 am

After much haggling and debating, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton could not come to a fundamental agreement with Republicans in the legislature over taxes and spending. The deadline for a State Government shutdown was midnight last night, and with no deal in hand, services are being interrupted. The timing of this failure in government is ironic to be sure: Independence Day is Monday.

“It’s significant that this shutdown will begin on the Fourth of July weekend,” Dayton told reporters. “On that date we celebrate our independence. It also reminds us there are causes and struggles worth fighting for.”

Republicans had urged Dayton to call a special session to push for a solution, but Dayton continued his approach of saying such a session wouldn’t be called unless a deal was already agreed to in principle.

Now, as the holiday weekend ensues, State Parks have been cleared of would-be campers and thousands of people within the state have been laid off. Many who depend on subsidies are left to fend for themselves; meaning elderly care facilities, mental health services, aid for the disabled, and services to the poor are all likely to be greatly affected. Road construction projects will halt, and even more surprisingly, state prisons will only be staffed by the actual correction officers (no support staff, no maintenance workers).

Even people who just want to go to the horse races are going to be inconvenienced: both Running Aces and Canterbury Park closed their doors last night at midnight.

The Republicans in the Legislature continue to be adamant that raising taxes isn’t the answer. Gov. Dayton says the state needs a bigger budget, and won’t sign a bill unless revenues are raised.

Time will tell who compromises, and to what degree, but for now – the average Minnesotan is left feeling like the system is failing the people.

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