Dayton Seeks No-Shutdown Pledge In State Of State

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton pushed state lawmakers Wednesday for a firm commitment that they won’t let a budget fight reach the point of a government shutdown, saying compromise must rise above partisan posturing.

Listen To Entire State of the State Address

Addressing the Legislature in his first State of the State address, Dayton looked ahead to the budget endgame just as the actual debate is about to heat up. Dayton is expected to lay out his two-year budget proposal next week.

“I ask you, legislators; I invite you; I implore you — to join with me now, right here in our Capitol and pledge to the people of Minnesota that we will not shut down their government, our government,” Dayton said.

If state leaders can’t reach a deal prior to July 1, parts of government would be temporarily shuttered. Dayton called that option “absolutely unthinkable.” It happened in Minnesota six years ago during a budget standoff.

The direct challenge from Dayton, a Democrat, recognizes his disagreement with the Republican-controlled Legislature over the need for tax increases to help plug a $6.2 billion shortfall.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said she was taken aback by the governor’s suggestion that Republicans would push negotiations past the brink. She said it “never ever has that ever been brought up in any conversation.”

Dayton repeated that he plans to seek a new top-end income tax — an approach that the GOP opposes. He withheld details about who would be hit by the proposed tax or how high it would be.

“Some will criticize me for proposing next week to ask those successful businessmen and women and wealthy Minnesotans to pay higher taxes,” Dayton said. “I ask them for their forbearance during this fiscal crisis, which I did not create, but inherited, and now, with you in the Legislature, must solve.”

Dayton said the alternative would be “savaging essential public services.” He tried to make the case that Minnesota has slipped as it has lurched from budget crisis to budget crisis.

He said school districts have shifted to four-day weeks to save money, more roads are in poor and mediocre condition and employment growth has lagged the rest of the nation.

Dayton said his budget proposal will request increased state aid for public education, including money to make all-day kindergarten an option for every child. He said he will ask lawmakers to create a special transportation authority to pursue new public and private financing of road construction. And he put in another pitch for his $1 billion push for state-backed construction using long-term bonds.

Republicans like freshman Rep. John Kriesel of Cottage Grove struggled to square Dayton’s bid for additional school dollars with the broader budget mess.

“We have to look for ways to reduce spending,” Kriesel said. “When he talks about looking for ways we should be spending more, I think that’s counterproductive.”

Added Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne: “A majority of us ran on the idea of no income tax increases on anyone. The story of this entire session is going to turn on that very question.”

Union leaders and Dayton’s Democratic allies were effusive in their praise of his message. The No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Debra Hilstrom of Brooklyn Center, said it won’t be easy for Republicans to find a cuts-only fix.

“It’s not enough to simply put out `live within our means’ and wave a magic wand and pretend you have solutions to the budget deficit,” she said.

Despite Dayton’s call for unity in addressing Minnesota’s budget problems, there are ample signs of discord.

Hours after Dayton’s speech, GOP leaders in the House planned a final vote on a $900 million package of budget cuts. A bill could reach Dayton by week’s end, which could provoke his first veto. Dayton has criticized the content of the bill and said it doesn’t give a fuller picture on how Republicans will deal with the entire problem.

In seeking his no-shutdown pledge, Dayton noted that a legislative committee has already started looking into the effects of one. He said lawmakers have 103 days to avoid one — a timetable that takes the Legislature to its May 23 adjournment deadline.

“The challenges we face threaten to divide us, rather than bring us together,” he said. “Partisan posturing and narrow agendas threaten to overwhelm bipartisan cooperation and compromise.

In 2005, Minnesota endured a partial shutdown that lasted about a week. Employees were furloughed and state services were curtailed, ranging from delays in driver’s license applications to a halt in job counseling to barricaded highway rest stops.

Essential services, such as the State Patrol and some health and welfare programs, continued operating under court order.

Republican operatives mocked Dayton on Twitter, noting that as a U.S. senator he briefly closed his office in Washington amid terrorism concerns.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Matt

    I’m going to take a stab in the dark here. I bet the governors “plan” will call for a whole bunch of new spending on schools, health care, infrastructure and pet projects across the state, but will neglect to mention how or where that fantasy money is going to come from.

    Reality is a tough place to live sometimes.

    • Cache

      Dayto and the Politicians do not look forward they are locked into the past. They have been stealing our money for years and don’t or won’t give it up. I expect nothing from Mr. ‘I gave myself and F”…as look into his vacant eyes…”lights are on but nobody is home!

    • Sam

      You know what? I prefer this to calling for a whole bunch of tax breaks for the already rich, while neglecting to mention which programs this fantasy money is going to come from.

  • Tom

    Well Matt what would your priorty be? Spending money on schools and educations? Or protecting a certain income bracket? The Republicans have decided too throw schools and education over the cliff and protect that certain income brackett.

    • Todd

      The wealthy of this state can afford to pay more in taxes. In times of crisis they should be expected to step up to the plate to help get Minnesota out of this crisis. I much rather have the wealthy pay there fair share of taxes than to sacrifice the younger generation. It is the younger generation that must be better prepared to take tomorrow’s technology jobs.

      • Tea Anyone

        I have an idea…..since we live in a Democracy, maybe we ALL should pay more….equally! Just saying you should pay more due to income is the same to me as saying you should pay LESS because you are BLACK!
        What we need…
        #1- Government pay adjustment. (More in-line with the Private sector! And NO State Unions!!!)
        #2- Welfare reform. I am ALL for helping the less fortunate, but if ANY of you think we are not TOO generous, you truly are kidding yourself! We have people FLOCKING here to live on OUR DIMES! This HAS to stop!
        #3- Take a step BACK to take 3 steps FORWARD! Let’s make MN a BUSINESS friendly state! Even though I disagree with a LOT of you who post your unrealistic thoughts on this web site….I still truly think of people from MN as salt of the earth! Honest, great work ethic (for the MOST part). If we had tax breaks for businesses to build here, we would have a GREAT work force available.
        Just those THREE things would be HUGE!!!

    • JB

      Tom, Why is it always all one way and no compromise? Educators used to start below, well below the poverty line and now many are making in excess of double the poverty line. I am not saying we should pay our teachers at or below poverty, but I am saying that Education currently consumes 62% of the states budget. You tell us when enough is enough, 100%, 110%, ?

      • Tom


        You shouldn’t put a price tag on education. If you want too be cheap about it then don’t be surprised in the end result. Do you believe like the Republicans do that if a person has a degree in math, history, etc should be able too teach in a classroom even though they have no teaching experience? There is a saying that you get what you paid for. I do believe in compromise if it involves common sense and not a someones ideaology.

  • Matt

    Well Tom, right now Minnesota has the 5th highest taxes in the nation and if you look at the prosperous states of Michigan, Hawaii, California and NY that have higher taxes you might notice a trend that higher taxes don’t exactly equal out to better education and improved job climates for the states. If you pair that with the fact that those higher tax brackets already pay a majority of the taxes in this state, I think the Republicans are absolutely correct in protecting us from higher taxes.

    If’s funny that liberals are always the ones to ask for fairness and equity until it comes to class warfare against those who make the most. It’s pretty hypocritical.

    • Really?

      The “hit” that we have the highest taxes in the nation is misleading. What the state takes in after providing tax breaks puts Minnesota below the nations avearge tax rate. I am neither liberal nor conservativer; I wish for Minnesota that we can manage what we have and what we need to do in truth and fairness rather than push our ideals through with unfair and untrue so called facts.

    • Todd

      I am a republican and I still feel the wealthier Minnesotans should step up and pay a greater share of taxes to lift this state out of the crisis we are in.

  • Just a middle income one

    Matt: I am so happy that you earn at least 250,000 per year. You are truly blessed. Now how about paying the same percentage of your income as those who only earn 50,000. or less. I know that means more taxes for you, but it would at least be the same percentage as those who are a LOT less fortunate than you.

  • Matt

    I wish I made $250,000 a year, but I am much more in line with your $50,000 a year. The difference is I am working my butt off every day so some day I can be “rich” according to the governor and I am not looking for handouts or redistribution to get buy. Why should we should punish someone for working hard and getting on top even if they can afford it? What kind of a message does that send to our youth? That’s money that they worked hard to get and it’s there’s to do what they want.

    Personally a MUCH more fair tax in my book would be a 100% sales based tax. That way if you don’t want to be taxed all you have to do is not spend money. No one will go for it, but that’s the “fairest” way to do it which is what I’m all about.

  • just a middle income one

    matt: then this tax on upper income people would not make one penny idfference to you until you become wealthy and then only on that portion of the income you make over the 250,000.
    By the way, i too like the sales tax bit, but it is regressive as those with low income would almost always pay a higher part of their income in taxes than the wealthy. That part is not fair. People have to eat, buy food, clothing, and shelter no matter what they earn.

  • Matt

    See that’s where your wrong, even though I don’t make $250K plus, that doesn’t make it any better.

    How would you like it if I said that anyone making less than $20K shouldn’t be allowed to use the courts because they don’t pay as much into the system each year? That doesn’t effect me either, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

    Class warfare is a serious issue that far to many people lean on as the answer, the country and state should be encouraging people to strive to be rich rather than painting those who make the most as the enemy.

    Also, for the most part I agree with your assessment of a sales tax only method and more analysis would need to be done onto a food tax, clothing housing excreta. I would make food except, housing already is mostly, but everything else should be taxed. Yes it’s not regressive enough for some, but why should it be? If someone works 20 hours week, but wants the same standard of living as someone working 40 hours a week why shouldn’t the pay the same taxes?

  • Matt

    Come on CCO, put up the comments… Please

  • Matt

    Seriously… come on CCO, I have to short of an attention span to wait. Let’s try it this way…

    See that’s where your wrong, even though I don’t make $250K plus, that doesn’t make it any better.

    How would you like it if I said that anyone making less than $20K shouldn’t be allowed to use the courts because they don’t pay as much into the system each year? That doesn’t affect me either, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

  • Matt

    Class warfare is a serious issue that far too many people lean on as the answer, the country and state should be encouraging people to strive to be rich rather than painting those who make the most as the enemy.

    Also, for the most part I agree with your assessment of a sales tax only method and more analysis would need to be done onto a food tax, clothing housing excreta. I would make food except, housing already is mostly, but everything else should be taxed. Yes it’s not regressive enough for some, but why should it be? If someone works 20 hours week, but wants the same standard of living as someone working 40 hours a week why shouldn’t the pay the same taxes?

  • Christina

    How about whomever doesn’t like the education, healthcare, parks, transportation etc in the potential related tax hikes.. can leave the state?!

    My Husband and I make 62k combined with one school ager.. We drive early 90’s cars, live in a 1500 sq. ft. townhouse and both have bachelor’s degrees..

    We live within our means, save and know we are c-o-n-t-r-i-b-u-t-i-n-g members of society.. You don’t have to like the lifestyle choices of a minority of people but their kids + our kids our going to run this world and take care of ALL of us someday..

    Deal with it and stop this Libertarian attitude that a person, family etc. can live in a box.. that is the most stupid argument around.

    Cutting taxes is going to benefit in the SHORT run. Restructuring of governement needs to happen but deep massive cuts are crippling smaller communities.

    Most importantly, these issues are not the fault of the MN-GOP or MN-DFL.. THEY ARE OUR PROBLEMS!!!! Be apart of the solution or please shut up.

  • Tom


    Conservatives think that the answer too everything is tax cuts and that is simply not true. If you were a small business person or a person who ran a large busniess in this economy are you going too sit there and tell me that if you were given a tax cut that you would go out and hire a certain amount of people regardless if there was no demand for your product or service? I don’t think so. I remember back a few years ago when the Dems along with a few Republicans raised the gas tax 8 cents and the Republicans thought they would win big in that election and that didn’t happen. Am i saying that the public loved that tax increase no, but the ones with common sense knew it had too be done. If you remember before the 35W bridge fell the “devils triangle” in Brooklyn Park was slated too be done, well when the 35W bridge went down Brooklyn Park was told that their project would have too wait longer because that money was going too get that bridge replaced now are you going too sit there and tell me that was common sense? I wouldn’t. But you know the one thing that I have noticed is that the Republicans are saying that we have a “spending” problem, well if you look at where they are making the spending cuts you know where they are directing those comments too.

  • Cache

    Sketch is right… a broad swath that paints us further into the financial hole…Do I hear any mention of the “Over-budgeted” Welfare. Freebies for the lawless Illegals, Silly bike paths museums, convention convention centers, Vikequeen playpen and Ethanol nonsense…NO A PEEP!

    • Tea Anyone

      Cache for Prez! ;-)
      I’m behind you 100%!!!! Though I do like bike paths….and Target Field… :-)

  • Christina Nerlien

    If people think that this state will get better with partisan non-sense continuing from BOTH side you are nuts!!

    We have to put our differences aside and rebuild this state TOGETHER.. Let’s compromise, sacrifice and get to work!

    Our focus needs to K-12 education, college education, small businesses, and JOBS!!! and WE need to do what w…e need to do to make the above our focus!

    • Todd

      The political parties need to learn to compromise. Christina is right on the money with this comment. These politicians are only interested in making a name for themselves by getting their name in print. The best thing we can do is to let our legislators know that they are acting like jerks and they either better work together to solve this crisis or WE WILL REMEMBER NOT TO VOTE FOR THEM AT ELECTION TIME.

      • Christina Nerlien

        Todd, you are correct.. everyone needs to be actively engage!! =-)

  • Christina Nerlien

    I am tired of it.. I am tired of the MN-DFL and I am tired of the MN-GOP..

    Neither side is completely right or wrong, EACH side has something to offer and the non-sense BS of poking and jabbing each other needs to STOP!!!

    Each side needs to join theother and lay it on the line.. WE ALL suffer from the fighting!!

  • Sticks

    Both the DFL and the GOP have points worth moving forward. We should look at cutting or restricting welfare benefits and we should stop giving certain governmnet funding services to the “Illegal aliens. Another issue not mentioned rarely at all on the state or nationlal level is the fact that many very profitable Fortune 500 companies move many millions of jobs directly or indirectly overseas and those savings paritall went into the pockets of the five percent of the management. They, the management already make outrageous aalaries percentage wise when compared with the same salary ten years ago.

    • Matt


      Outsourcing jobs is called free trade and it’s a good thing and here’s why. By sending a job overseas to produce a product for less money it allows the company to sell it for less money which in turn makes the product cheaper to the consumer and allows them to purchase more products with their dollar. Your notion that executives are lining their pockets with the money “stolen” from the American worker is nonsense because if this was the case then competition would come in and sell the product for less and put company A out of business. Hence the name FREE TRADE. Most executive pay is based on company stock prices, if stock prices go up, then they get paid more so executives are doing everything they can maximize returns.

      The best part of FREE TRADE is if you don’t like it, don’t buy products from overseas. There is a law in the USA that states any product sold must declare the country of origin, so it’s your decision to make. Obviously people choose lower prices over source of origin.

      • Really?

        I have lost 6 jobs since 2000 because my industry has left overseas. The argument that sending jobs over seas as free trade sounds good on paper but in reality it is destroying our economy and our future. How can unemployed people buy “cheaper” products if they are not working because their job was sent out of this country so that they can buy cheaper products? Or how can we compete for good paying jobs against companies that find they can pay significantly less for work in another country? Our income has fallen dramatically. I guess yes, it is good then to get something cheaper because we are making much less than we would otherwise. We need jobs here in this country so that we can purchase products so that our economy can grow, not the other way around.

  • Cache

    Our high taxes on private and business taxpayers is driving us into the ground, along with the over generous freebies to the non working generational welfare and Illegals ($300Mil/yr)slugs and business stupid subsidies (green nonsense). MN has 50% the USA’s peat resources(Baby Coal)-do we use it NO-Europe heat their house with it! Ford is closing it’s plant, 3M is mostly gone others are making plans to move. Welfare “PAY NO TAXES” they spend your and my money they tale form us they need more money they take more from us. Anyone who make less than $25K pay NO taxes. the Rich are moving except the Sports queens who rip us off for a free factory to sell their wares….WAKE UP!

  • TZ

    I agree completly!! keep those taxes coming and you will see my business owner move from the hole of a liberal state that it has become! The benefits of doing business here are almost as minescule as the reasons to live here now. Schools are crap, welfare is out of control, the goverment gave up on making hard decisions in place of making decisions that will get votes from the people that abuse this system we pay for.

  • Mike

    Both sides have to work together. What I don’t like is that our reps and senators don’t vote with common sense and what they feel is right. Some are very conservative or liberal like their party lines, but to vote the party’s way even though they don’t like it and getting scolded by their party is wrong. Where does a conservative democrat or social republician fit? I support the tightening of welfare rules, tax cut for small business, repeal of gun permit laws, unions and more grant money to higher education. So which side of the aisle do I fit?

    • Matt

      I strongly agree with your premise and that political parties are a MAJOR issue.

      In fact, take a look at George Washington’s farewell speech as president. It’s almost entirely about the danger of political parties and specifically the two party system.

      People often talk about how the “system” is rigged for the rich to get richer, which is hogwash, but in reality the system is rigged to the two party system in place.

      It tough to correct, but I would bet that almost every citizen would agree to term limits and limiting the financial and competitive advantages afforded to political parties.

  • JD

    IF the two political parties we are stuck with actually worked together and listened to the people instead of the corporations that supported their campaign then our state would be far better off.

    A new Vikings stadium could bring more money into our state. First the state needs to work out a deal with the owner. The owner cannot demand tax payer money and then not give anything back to the state in return. If our state implements a stadium tax, fine, then the state should also reap a percentage of all profits from all stadium events to help with the state’s budget. This way a stadium tax can be looked at as an investment for the state, which would use stadium revenue to support other areas like road construction and education. Then when it comes time to build the stadium, spare no expense! Make it the stadium of all stadiums, with a hotel, a waterpark, shops, restaurants and yes even a casino. Minnesota has MOA, the biggest mall, so why not build the biggest and best stadium? We need the tourist money, we need to build an attraction that will generate money when football is not in session, which would be a majority of the time. A downtown casino is long overdue. Liquor sales on Sundays, also long over due. And we should be giving tax incentives to certain businesses, mostly retail and fast food, staying open 24/7 to help create more jobs. There is so much that could be done to help get MN the revenue it needs for the things that are most important in everyday life. And, if we have to shrink MN government jobs then sorry, but our government is too big, some of you need to go – actually a lot of you need to go, we can’t keep paying government workers considerably higher wages than the private sector and expect the rest of us to pay for it.

    But it all starts with our current political system, in which it is nearly impossible to get either side to bend on their own agenda, and that unfortunately doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of the people who elected them. There is no easy answer but I for one am sick of watching the two parties go at it and the people who support them; all they do is blame eachother for all the problems.

    • Matt

      JD, last time I checked corporations can’t vote citizens can. If citizens actually armed themselves with the facts it would clean up a lot of issues. How many people go out and vote and don’t even know who their local representative is?

      • JD

        Matt, you’re right, corporations can’t vote. Yet somehow the corporations of this country are strongly influencing our politicians. That is undisputable. How can a corporation, made up of several thousand workers in many cases, possibly come to an agreement as to which party they wish to support and contribute to? They can’t, hence why corporations should not be allowed to make political contributions. Politicians should not be swayed on issues from the companies that are paying for their campaign.

  • Christina Nerlien

    Matt is correct.. MANY vote a party line, that is wrong..

    Welfare needs to be totally restructured, I should know, I work in Ramsey Co. HHS.. Let’s streamline the process and adhere to the 5 year MFIP time limits. Lets pass the 1/20/11 bill to cut out the out of state bogus purchases.

    Let’s reduce the 9% unemployment and create JOBS!

    Let’s increase transportation and streamline it.

    Let EVERY CHLD has the ability to go to the high quality school that my daughter goes too. Let’s invest in our children..

    I admit, I know really nothing of free trade or business.. I know small businesses work and built our nations.. somehow, we need that back. the same with immagration.. you know, I feel these people are escaping a literal hell of their home countries.. I don’t have any solution for these issues other then the result needs to be practical, ethical and compassionate.. And saying ‘no’ can be compassionate =-)

    We need to force those that our liabilities on our society back to productivity.. We need to do this is a fair and humane way. We also need to care for vulnerable adults and the elderly in the most cost effective and humane way..

    You know, we all want the same things.. I truly believe our differences are quite minor and compromise CAN be achieved

    • Todd

      I agree. We need to put a time limit on MFIP. Five years tops and then the money ends. We need to stop stealing from the Social security program to finance other projects. We need to bring in line the FEDERAL salaries so they are in line with the State and private sector.

  • chuck


    • Tea Anyone?

      One word…RACINO! I agree….Slots at the horse track would be HUGE!

      • Todd

        We already have horse racing. Why not help this industry succeed by allowing slots and card games at these tracks. This would be a win win situation that would help us get this state out of the mess it is in.

  • Christina Nerlien


    “Anyone who make less than $25K pay NO taxes” that is false, I made 19 k last year and paid 11% in.. I think what you might mean are those single parents with children who get $ back. At times it can be signifigant.. How about those $$ are surrendered to the counties which are issuing their public benefits?? That actually would not be hard to drum up PLENTY of public support???

    You know I escaped an abusive marriage and was almost killed of the job(electricuted).. I was on WIC for 9 months, thankfully I bouced back through help of family and many people who helped me.. It was very frustrating to see those use the very system that helped me.. It was also very hurtful the looks and comments made by people who saw me use WIC.. They didn’t know my life, they didn’t know my story.. (BTW, I am not on anything(welfare, housing etc) presently nor anything previously besides WIC)

    I was and am thankful for the period of humbling in my life.. Rejoice in your good fortune.. I do, but I also remember there are those whom are not as lucky as me..

    Good stream everyone, I am enjoying reading

  • Matt

    So throw the elected elite out! Each and every one of them on both sides! I would welcome the change, especially on the federal level.

    Personally this is why I lean to the libertarian side of things, I don’t have any faith in the elected elite, so I want them to just stay out of my business, stay out of my pockets and let me make the decisions that are best for me an my family.

  • Christina Nerlien

    PS – I don’t agree with some of Dayton’s Bonding Bill.. the Saint’s Stadium seems unwise.. I saw Coleman’s MNpost response.. I disagree and feel we need better a more streamlined public transportation system.

    On the other side, I thought the Bike Stations that Rybak proposed(and implemented) was silly.. we live in MN and it was a sad waste of money. My hope is that St. Paul uses $$ much more widely.

    I will say I really like what the SPPS are doing with the restrcturing of the district. It is a shame to lose the east side schools and I am hopeful of revitilization of that area.. I hope those within that community join in that effort.


    • Matt

      Not sure if your asking me, but for the most part I agree. I’m not that familiar with what SPPS is doing and I would love to know more about “streamlining public transportation” but I agree that we shouldn’t be funding a Saints stadium and the bike paths have gotten out of control.

      • Christina Nerlien

        Oh no, this was an open post… I think pulling up the rail tracks in St. Paul so many years ago was criminal. I think the TC is TOO big to be manitained by the present trans system we have.. the solution costs LOTS of $$, BUT this situation is not going to get better..

      • Todd

        Our public transportation system is still based on the spoke system when industry was located in the core city;however, many people commute from suburb to suburb which makes the spoke system obsolete for them. Why not cooridinate the MTC with the suburban transit and find a way to transport people from transit station to transit stattion. I would love to take the bus, but it would mean a 2 hour bus trip each way all because I would have to go downtown before catching another bus out to the suburbs.

      • Christina Nerlien


        Sounds good to me.. I agree with a 2 hour trip into the city is nuts, that is why i think it wouldn’t work LT.. I wonder, with reflection of your response, if an expanded raiil system would be worth the cost??

        I live in Little Canada, my commute (anywhere)is primo.. wouldn’t that be nice for all?? would that be a good way to bring business back to the cities and tier 1 ‘burbs???

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