Gov. sends us to shutdown

Dear Neighbor,

Despite the sun, it is a dark day in Minnesota. On the last night of possible negotiations, the Governor rejected our fourth compromise offer and came forward with no plan of his own, instead holding a press conference at 10 PM – two hours before the deadline – to announce a government shutdown.

Legislative colleagues and I, after 6 months of working to pass a complete and balanced budget during the regular session and develop three compromise proposals since adjournment, sat ready and waiting in our seats on the House floor. Our final offer included additional revenue in the form of tobacco bonds and accounting shifts, allocated more funding to higher education, and increased per-student aid to cover potential borrowing costs. The Governor would not even agree to a “lights-on” measure to avert a shutdown during continued negotiations.

Make no mistake, Governor Dayton created the unnecessary pain of this government shutdown–and some believe he was planning for it long before session even ended. The GOP passed a complete budget that funds state government and makes spending sustainable. Governor Dayton does not believe a $34 billion budget — $2 billion more than the last budget — is enough and, shutdown this state over a $1.8 billion tax increase. Each of our budget proposals represented a fiscally responsible approach funding priorities, promoting reform, and setting our state on a sustainable path to the future. Governor Dayton shutdown government just to raise taxes to make state government even larger.

Legislative colleagues and I will continue to work toward a consensus solution that funds government without raising taxes. The time is now for the Governor to act on the needs of Minnesota, rather than the wants of government. Governor Dayton needs to call a special session and let us end the shutdown.

Before closing, I also wanted to include information on what is open and what is closed during this time. As the budget impasse continues, please stay informed and involved! We will re-open government, re-build this state’s foundation, and re-new Minnesota for a stronger future.

Sincerely,

Pam

What’s open/closed:

BUSINESS PERMITTING

State agencies stop processing business permits or registering new enterprises. No tax refunds would be issued.

CITIES/COUNTIES

Local Government Aid payments continue.

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities remain open and have enough funding to operate for the next few months.

COURTS

Open.

DRIVER AND VEHICLE SERVICES

Offices closed and no driver tests available, but you may renew license plates and licenses at city and county offices.

EDUCATION

Public schools are deemed a core service (state payments are not specifically mentioned in court order).

HEALTH

Health Dept. staff could respond to a disease outbreak, operate the Poison Control Center and conduct limited food inspections. Medicaid, MFIP, General Assistance, MN Supplemental aid, Group Residential Housing, MN Care, Food Support, Food Assistance, Adoption Assistance continue.

HEALTH CARE FACILITIES

Nursing Homes, residential academies, state hospitals remain open.

HIGHWAY REST STOPS

Closed.

HISTORICAL SITES, MUSEUMS

The Minnesota Historical Society’s 26 historic sites and museums close.

HUMAN SERVICES

Food stamps and welfare benefits continue.

HUNTING, FISHING LICENSES

Will not be issued. DNR officers continue enforcement.

JOB TRAINING CENTERS

Closed.

LOTTERY

Closed.

MILITARY

The Department of Veterans Affairs will keep veterans homes open, along with critical assistance programs and the state Veterans Cemetery. Tuition reimbursement claims stop and veterans’ outreach claims offices close. Camp Ripley will keep support staff for scheduled military training. Guard members training for deployments are on federal active-duty status and will not be affected.

MINNESOTA MANAGEMENT & BUDGET

Minimal employees needed to maintain employee insurance, payroll, HR management and other budget functions continue.

POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY

Will respond to environmental emergencies, maintain safety and health-related equipment at certain closed landfills and other cleanup sites, and would notify citizens of an air quality alert.

PUBLIC SAFETY

State Patrol, crime labs, Homeland Security, stay open. Most prison employees retained.

RACE TRACKS

Canterbury Park and Running Aces will not be allowed to run races.

SCIENCE MUSEUM

The Science Museum of Minnesota remains open.

STATE PARKS

Closed. Campers with reservations between Thursday and July 14 can cancel them beginning at 8 a.m. Monday and avoid standard cancellation fees. To do so, they should call 1-866-857-2757.

STILLWATER LIFT BRIDGE

Closed to vehicle traffic, unless an appeal by legislative leaders is approved.

TAXES

Revenue tax processing continues. No refund checks issued. Tax court closed.

TRANSPORTATION

Most state-funded road construction projects stop (an estimated 200), except for emergency repairs. The Metropolitan Council can use its reserves to keep buses and rail lines operating for at least a month. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, which operates many south-metro bus lines, plans to keep buses rolling with reserve funds for up to 60 days.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Unemployment claims, benefit payments, and collections continue.

WORKERS

Workers comp claims and benefits activities processed. Workers comp appeals court closed.

ZOOS

Minnesota Zoo is closed. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory stays open