Dayton Administration Starts Shutdown Preparations

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — More than 4,600 people made reservations to visit a Minnesota state park over Independence Day last summer, and this year the 74 state parks and recreation areas are expecting as many or more visits — if the parks are open come July 1.

That’s the day when Minnesota’s government would shut down if Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican state lawmakers fail to get a new, two-year budget in place. Paychecks would stop for tens of thousands of state workers, but many more Minnesotans would not escape pain: closed state parks, mothballed road repair projects, locked highway rest stops, halted processing of everything from new business permits to driver’s licenses, and many other consequences.

“It would be an extraordinary embarrassment,” Jim Showalter, Dayton’s state budget director, said Thursday. “It is something that will impact our bond ratings. It will impact our stature. It is not something to be trifled with.”

The legislative session ended earlier this week with Dayton and Republicans still mired in a long standoff over taxes and spending. Dayton met with his cabinet Wednesday and instructed them to start preparing lists of which workers and state functions should be considered essential if government shuts down.

The consequences of a shutdown would be far-reaching. While workers like State Patrol troopers and prison guards are likely to be kept on the job, tens of thousands of state employees deemed nonessential by a court would be temporarily laid off. State worker unions have started counseling their members to save money, avoid large purchases and contact mortgage companies or landlords and credit card companies to warn them that payments might be late.

Ted Boal, a 59-year-old physical therapist at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, doesn’t know if he’d be deemed essential. He has two kids who are both getting married this summer, home siding and a driveway that both need to be replaced, and a growing anxiety.

“My wife and I do have some savings, but we’re not rich,” said the Maple Grove resident.

Dayton is seeking $1.8 billion more in new state revenue for the next two years than Republican leaders have said they are willing to spend. Both Dayton and Republican lawmakers say they don’t want a shutdown, and the governor said that he and GOP leaders would meet again at the end of this week or early next for more budget talks.

It’s too soon to say how widely felt a government shutdown would be by non-state workers, but it’s likely to be more visible than a partial shutdown in 2005. At that time, only a handful of state agency budget bills were unresolved by July 1.

This time, only one agency budget — for the Department of Agriculture — has been signed into law. Bills funding the state courts, constitutional offices like the attorney general and secretary of state, highway programs and maintenance, parole and probation services, pollution control and environmental monitoring and dozens of other state responsibilities remain in limbo.

“It would be of a magnitude that I don’t think a lot of people are ready for,” said Jim Monroe, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Public Employees, the second-largest state worker union. “In terms just of getting a paycheck, we believe somewhere in excess of 33,000 to 35,000 souls will be impacted. That’s a huge number, and it’s a number that has so many tails on it because the work they do interacts financially with so many private businesses and the nonprofit community.”

Perhaps the most immediate consequence noticeable to the most people would be park closings. Amy Barrett, parks and trails information officer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the July 4 weekend is one of the three busiest of the year in Minnesota parks, the others being Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The state park system earned nearly $1 million in revenue to the state in the first week of July 2010, Barrett said.

The parks don’t just operate in a vacuum. Many of the larger ones have inspired businesses to spring up nearby that cater to visitors to the area.

Tom Atwood and his wife own Evergreen Gifts and Fun Park, which is in Park Rapids and about 10 miles south of Itasca State Park, one of the state’s most popular.

“It certainly would not help at all,” Atwood said of the prospect of the park being closed that weekend. He said they’ve sunk thousands into improving their establishment’s offerings this summer after a tough time last summer thanks to the economy and road construction in the area.

“Now with gas prices we’re worried, and if there’s a shutdown …” Atwood trailed off. “It won’t help. It won’t be good.”

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

  • Anita Newgov

    How much you want to bet Governor Goofy even forgets to turn the light off when he leaves?

    • Zelda

      Based on his actions as Senator, he will be the first one out of the building.

    • Christian and Free

      There is more to a government than a Governor. I learned in civics class that there are whole branches, like houses and senates! Amazing how the whole process works, but thanks for playing.

      • fred

        I`m more amazed how the process fails to work.

        • Matt

          Exactly, and why I welcome a shutdown with open arms. Maybe people will realize how much goverenment isn’t needed.

  • Socrates


    This Governor has principles.

    Wake up.

    • AP

      Says the self dubbed walking ego “Socrates”…

      If the court has the ultimate say of which employees are “essential”, why is the Gubernatorial Cabinet wasting their time making one of their own? Sounds like nothing more than a deliberate ‘leak’ of information to push out a very public threat to the Legislators and a sob story to the people through the media.

    • Mike


      If we only evaluated people on looks, Einstein would have been an idiot. Grow up.
      Governor Dayton was elected by a majority, get over it.

  • Paul

    This is what the lay-Republicans have come to. Third-rate, third grade insults of our governor.

    • Molly

      How stupid of you to assume those comments came from a Republican!!

      • daytons afool

        Well here’s an insult from a republican, dayton hasn’t a clue how to govern, just those sad deer in the headlight looks.

        I insult, because my liberal friend is always the one to insult me when we debate politics. Instantly, he always throws the first one! So ha!
        Lick it!

        • Paul

          Hasn’t a clue how to govern? He’s doing a fabulous job. He has the Republicans back into a corner where their only option is to cave in or risk losing the election in 2012. It’s brilliant.

          • Chris

            Paul, All he can do is accuse the rest of not “compromising”…

            While that soinds like an argument of logic, sometimes it is not an option!

            We have always compromised, and that is how we got to this disaster!!!

            At some point, you cannot move any further and you need to deal with it.

          • Southern MN Mom


            I feel the need to reminded you that the Democratic Party was massacred all over American just 7 months ago. We are now starting to enter a new era in the way governments at ALL levels spend and operate.

            In Minnesota ,the GOP won both the house and senate for the first time in 38 years!! The Minnesota Republican legislators were elected specifically to reduce the size of government and hold the line on taxes. These new and younger Minnesota GOP legislators know that if they compromise with Governor Dayton THEN they will not be reelected.

            Governor Dayton is a good man, but he has chosen to make his “socialist last stand” in a fight he cannot possibly win. These Minnesota GOP legislators were preparing for the possibility of having to shut Minnesota government down from the very moment they were elected. I for one find their resolve refreshing.

            • Paul Solinger

              I disagree that he can’t possibly win this battle. When the government is shut down, it will affect everyone to varying degrees. Enough so that there will be a backlash and it will affect the Republicans more then Dayton. Why? Because they are the next ones to face reelection. Because Dayton is on record in his attempts to compromise. And because Democrats will hit the airwaves with commercials accusing the Republicans of sacrificing the poor and children to “protect the top 2%”.

              I also disagree about this “massacre” that you speak of. The evidence is already pointing towards “buyers remorse”. Look at the Republican House District that went to a Democrat just yesterday.

              This “new era” of which you speak is going to be short lived.

              • Southern MN Mom


                With no end to the recession in site, where do you think the tax dollars are going to come from to fund the unending socialist/welfare programs this state has become famous for? If you disagree with the term “massacre” when describing the last election you are simply living in denial. Just 7 months ago we witnessed the biggest change in the U.S. House in 80 years and the Minnesota Legislature in 38 years. People all over America and Minnesota have had enough of socialist programs that do not work.

                “New Era” is a term deep down you have to agree with Paul. You cannot possibly believe we are headed to even more socialism in Minnesota, America and around the world can you?

      • Paul

        Stupid, Molly? It’s a common sense inference. Look up the big word I used, if you need help.

        • molly

          I find it very entertaining that a lib would pretend to know anything about common sense. You crack me up.

    • peter

      Goofy is a well respected and accomplished as well as adored by many. If anything the cartoon dog should be upset about being compared to a second rate gov.

      • Paul

        Let’s leave Pawlenty out of this, Peter.

  • JR

    Instead of preparations for a shutdown, get your staff to work and get some productive work accomplished. A balanced budget was on your desk but instead of keeping services going, you veto and thus shutting the state down. And who dropped the ball?

    You may call it principles but it’s seen as taking the easy way out. Now because of your principles, state employees/citizens go home, programs are shutdown, services stopped because of your pen.

    • Paul

      Actually, JR, that all is occurring because the Republicans refuse to compromise. A majority of Minnesotans are proudly saluting Governor Dayton’s veto decision.

      • JR

        A majority? Have you taken a comprehensive poll across a broad section of Minnesotans or just your gut feeling?

        • Paul


          I understand that Republicans like to dismiss polls they don’t agree with as “too liberal”, but there’s a scientific poll with the results you don’t like.

          • Gabe

            If you’re stupid enough to think that a poll by the red star is accurate, then maybe you should run for governor

            • Paul

              I can’t believe it took 20 minutes for a Republican to criticize the poll results. You guys are slow today. I’m sure the Faux News Poll would be far more accurate.

              • Maynard

                I agree with Paul. The Fox News Poll WOULD be more accurate.

      • Charlie

        Sometimes compromising is not an option…

        That is how it got this bad in the first place!

        Maybe we need to just stop that and live with it.

  • Sticks

    Compromise is a two way street. Replicans need to pick up a dictionary to understand the meaning of the word. Anyone who believes in the “No new taxes” mantra of the past doesn’t pay property taxes as that’s where Gov. PalentyOfTrouble pushed them to. I do agree we need to make cuts but we all also need to pay taxes at roughly the same rate. In the “old days” both Repulicans and Democrats compromised. Those days are over.

    • Anita Newgov

      I agree sticks. The Republicans should take their $34 billion lavish, bloated budget that was rejected and compromise with the Conservatives and come back with a $28 billion budget.

      Submit the $28 billion version and if dayton vetoes that that come back with $26 billion – keep repeating

      • Paul

        I’d like to see that too, Anita. That way the Republican’s popularity will sink faster then the Titanic.

      • Chuck

        Anita, That is right!

      • Jennifer

        And suck this state dry so that not a single child is able to be educated, no ill can be healed, no vulnerable can be protected. Your maniacal laugh is audible as you say, keep repeating. The budget that keeps getting cut is the budget that the powerful don’t care about. The one that makes us a great state. The one that we need to protect. Please take a look at what has already been done or don’t comment. Read the bills, read the testimonies. Go to the hearings. Otherwise, your anecdotal blurbs mean nothing.

        • Anita realleader

          Jennifer – Dayton could stop this at any time and agree to the budget that the house and senate sent to his desk. The budget he has contains no real cuts, Republicans should be ashamed that they sent him such a huge number.

          It is what it is, they passed it and if the Gov decides to shut it all down over the overspending offer he has in front of him – that is his “leadership” I guess.

          Last one out, hit the lights

          • Citizen

            @Anita. Governor Dayton is doing just the right thing. Too many of you conservative posters yap about shutting the government down. Now it will happen and you will see how far-reaching government money is. Did you read the above article or just create a knee-jerk response? There are plenty of large and small businesses that will lose A LOT OF MONEY from this shutdown. You know, people can’t miss you if you never leave. Time for government to leave and then we can see how much the conservatives will miss it because my guess a lot of those businesses are run by conservatives–or at least they think they are….

  • sporty007

    You know this is a two way street – both sides are sounding like spoiled children – this tax the rich mantra is getting old – so what happens when just taxing the rich doesn’t solve the problems – which it won’t if they don’t get spending under control – so who are they going to go after the next go round when they need even more money to fund an already bloated government.

  • Capt. America


    My Porperty taxes have gone down each year since 2008, due to the recesion, that is probably true for most homeowners in Minn or the last 4 years.

    • Tea says no new taxes

      Your taxes have gone down because the value of your HOME has gone down! NOT because if the % the tax is based on.

      All this will do is screw us in the future!

    • Charles

      I would have to see specific data to fully believe that. I have heard people say that their property taxes have gone up over the past few years, while their home values drop drastically. This is the first year my property taxes have gone down (a very small amount), but my home value in the past 2 years has dropped over 20k. What we might see here is 1) Republicans win and our property taxes will go up, or 2) Democrats win and the top 2% get taxed. Pick your poison!

      • answer

        I’ll take higher prop taxes and 6% unemployment rate vs lower prop tax rates and 9% unemployment

  • Carl

    Dayton said he would veto the GOP’s budget as presented and he did. Too bad the GOP promised economic reform but delivered a fundamentalist social agenda.
    Honesty and follow through should be worth something. Thanks Guv!

  • Paul

    I see his true colors…and I like them. This is why I voted for him, and I couldn’t be happier. Happy to see your Anger Management sessions are paying off, Mustache.

    • Tea and spend

      @ Paul I am guessing you are a State or Fed employee?

      I am NOT a “six figure” income guy, but I’m smart enough to know if we do decide to raise the taxes on the “richest MN’s” it will cause LONG term issues.

      We go through this EVERY budget cycle! I don’t agree with Mr M’s comments about calling Dayton a “puke” or all lib’s “liberturds”…..but I do 100% agree with his ANGER!

      The tax and spend agenda HAS to stop! The CORE issues are NEVER dealt with because no one wants to upset the apple cart!

      I am proud of the repubs in one respect that they are MAKING it an issue this budget cycle to FORCE the gov to deal with these issues. (A gov by the way who has his family fortune sheltered in a different state due to MN taxes!!!)

      If you think this “tax the rich” will NOT affect us under 6 fig income earners, you have NO basic concept of business!

      And that inlays the problem. If people thought about the state as a BUSINESS and not a “welfare program” things would be different.

      We NEED to change things, and no time like the current day! If a govt shut down is the result, GOOD! PLEASE let me know how YOUR life changes with a govt shut down. I’m betting mine will be just about the same!

      • Paul

        I would imagine that laying off 30,000 employees, state or not, would have a serious detrimental effect on our economy. I’m not sure how it will effect my life, but I can guarantee you one thing. If the government is shut down, most Minnesotans will be upset. Those that are upset are likely to take it out on the incumbent in the next election. Who’s up for reelection next? Yep. The Republicans.

        Only Governor Dayton is asking all Minnesotans to sacrifice. Republicans only want the lower and middle class to sacrifice while protecting the top 2%.

        Also, we cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans during the Bush Administration. Did we see more jobs created? Did it boost the economy? Take a look at our recession and unemployment rate before you answer.

        I applaud Mark Dayton and thank God everyday that we have him in the Governor’s seat.

        • Charlie

          Your hero is the biggest hypocrit around…

          We disagree with everything that you said!

          • Paul

            Who’s we, Charlie? You and your many personalities?

        • Tea says no taxes still

          Paul…the thing you fail to realize if if those tax cuts were not in place…the unemployment rate would have been WORSE? Also….your main man Obama EXTENDED them!!! Why? If he didn’t..the unemployment rate would again..have been worse? Even flip flop Obama knows this!
          The bottom line do NOT blame Bush for the country’s situation…and do not blame T-Paw for MN’s current issue.
          The bottom line is raise the taxes on the top 2% does not SOLVE anything….it’s a temp fix that WILL cause issues in the future!

          I’ll say it again….

          Our issue is a SPENDING ISSUE NOT A TAXING ISSUE!

          As soon as welfare reform is passed…and govt pay reform is passed….Oh..and we open a state run casino…. if we STILL have issues (which you KNOW we will NOT!!!) then we can talk taxes….but for now….being one of the highest taxed stated in the US…..the answer is NOT RAISING TAXES!!!!

          • Paul

            You must not have gotten the Republican Memo that was recently issued. According to your king, Tony whathisname, there will be no revenue at all, not even a casino.

            As for the rest of your drivel, I didn’t really read it.

            • Paul, Dale Drivel's cousin

              Yup…typical Democrat….refuses to face the truth

              “As for the rest of your drivel, I didn’t really read it.”

              Guess it’s an easy way to skate by a real answer….

        • Citizen

          We’ve been cutting taxes on the wealthy off and on since the beginning of the income tax in 1913. Pretty much jobs were never much created. It’s a lie continually perpetrated by the wealthy and corporations. The fact that the voters continue to believe this lie says a lot about hoping for something in vain. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for 90 years, shame on me!!!!

      • Jennifer

        There is an economics theory out there that clearly shows how making sure that the working class has a living wage, the ‘economy’ or ‘pie’ grows, which makes the albeit smaller wedge that the rich get smaller in percentage, but worth more money in the end. Business owner here, not working for the state, and I have a very comfortable grasp on ‘business’ AND economics. Watch what you allow them to cut. In the end we will pay MORE because of the penny wise and pound foolish actions of a republican house that doesn’t understand the long term consequences of their actions. Just look at the mess Pawlenty made when he shifted the burden of GMA onto the WORKING CLASS POOR. That wasn’t a good business decision at all. Idiotic and short sighted and evil.

    • Peter

      When you talk about his colors, are you refering to the yellow stripe down his back?

    • Darnell

      Why don’t you leave race out of this Paul, that’s not appropriate.

  • SR

    The governor and members of the legislature should NOT be getting paid if the government shuts down. BOTH sides are responsible and they shouldn’t be getting paid since they didn’t do their job either.

    • O-Tea

      I’m with you SR! And if this idea is NOT brought up by a GOP member…I as a GOP supporter will be upset!

  • Tired of them all!!

    You are all pathetic and have your eye off the ball. We dont have a tax problem we have s spending problem and you let these politicians divide us to keep our attention elsewhere while they loot and pilage and fill there pockets from the river of special interest $$ that flows into every State capital building!! Wake up people, we should be talking about pitchforks and torches not who should pay more!

    • Jennifer

      Agreed, and when we don’t take care of the most vulnerable on the most basic level, they end up costing our state millions more! Let the professionals do their jobs, take care of the children and the ill, then we will have less overall bills. HONEST. A physically and mentally healthy state costs less to maintain than a ‘off my meds and need to visit the ER and be admitted into the hospital every other week which the TAX PAYER will pay for anyway even though they didn’t put it in their little ol’ budget’. Or, I’m not educated or supported or cared for and so I’ll commit crimes and end up in your jails and prisons and suck every last dollar from your hand. Just wanted to throw that reality in.

  • C. DeMille


    You win for biggest drama queen on this board.

    Contest is now closed

  • Charles

    I remember the boom of the Clinton years and the higher taxes that were imposed to fix the deficit. Those were good years economically. So why are higher taxes so bad?

  • Go ahead and tax us

    If you want higher taxes on anybody, you are a thief who hasn’t worked either hard enough or smart enough in life, of course ignoring all the ultra wealthy. I’ve been poor and worked my way up to wealth and success. No whining, no class envy, just drive and determination and the money followed. Go ahead and tax us and let’s see what the ramifications are. It is like you don’t understand that your are digging the hole deeper and deeper but are so blind by class envy you willingly keep digging. Good luck to all of you liberals out ther and just hope your kids are better off than you are. Imagine how you would sleep if you didn’t want to take something from someone else. Why don’t you work toward that instead of working how to rationalize stealing from others who didn’t sit on their behinds but got out and did something. There are doer bees and producers in life and I can say being a producer lets me sleep much better than when I was a doer bee. The difference is seeing how the wealthy lived and took care of their families propelled me to want to be better not want to tear others down. Why is it that some from modest means make it and others post about wanting something for nothing. I just don’t get it.

  • kevin

    Time to start a recall election for Gov. bumble butt. He has already shut down that state govenment.

    • Paul

      Yeah, that’ll work. He’s more popular now then he was when he was elected.

    • SR

      it’s time to recall them ALL!

  • worryfree

    Dayton backed off 50% on the tax proposal he campaigned on. Repubs backed off 0% on what they campaigned on (no new taxes). Who isn’t compromising?

    • Chris

      So what if he backed off 1/2… it is still too much!

      All of our homes in this fine state will be worth less if things continue…

      And we will be bankrupt with no economy, just like a Mad Max movie.

      So, we still need to be fiscally responsible and stop the madness!!!

  • PMH49

    It is time to face facts about the budget in Minnesota. We are in this mess because the previous governor refused to raise taxes (unless they were called fees) and legislature refused to cut spending. We continue in this mess because the current governor refuses to cut spending and the legislature refuses to raise taxes. The problem, viewed from the outside is that everybody wants to cut this, keep that, increase the other. From here on the the outside the solution looks to be as simple as cut every single budget line item by the same percentage.(period) The merits of any program or project do not have to be decided, we don’t have to find out the hard way that sacred cows make the best burgers, we just have to live within our means as they exist. If you want to tax the rich – by all means try to pass that legislation next year. If you want to put the elderly out on the street – have that debate next year – meantime everybody tighten belt and live with what you’ve got. This is stupidly simple, but it works pretty well out in the real world.

    Please – just cut everyone the same and then try to fix things one step at a time – and in my opinion start with welfare – no matter if that is paying the lazy and inept, or is called agriculture (ethanol) subsidies, it is still welfare.

    I would be happy with everyone paying the same tax rate with no deductions for making babies, buying a first or second home, or any other excuse we make up for some people or companies paying less. Since babies, houses, or relocating a company are choices, choose on your own dime.

    Simplistic – of course. There is not a politician in the world who would not sell out for a generous campaign contribution, so one would also need to enact a one term limit on any office, because come down to it – most of our politicians are on welfare too.

    • Jennifer

      I agree to a point, a person buying a second home is able to take care of themselves. A mentally ill person may need the help to sustain their health to take care of themselves.

  • PMH49

    Audios? We don’t need no stinking audios… Adios amigo

  • Liz

    I applaud Governor Dayton for standing up to the republicans. The cuts to the budget proposed by the republicans will destroy the lives of many Minnesotan – those who don’t have the support and voice of powerful interest groups. What will happen (again) is that local governments will be forced to AGAIN raise property taxes as happened under Pawlenty;s “no new taxes” administration.. Even previous republican governor Arne Carlson says that was a disaster.

  • south sider

    maybe they shouldn’t have wasted so much time on debating the marriage amendment and focused on what they were elected to discuss!

  • It's About Time

    Shut the government down. They spend to much

  • justice fleeting

    Shut it down. Stop the spending. Let’s find out what we (the tax payer) really need in this over taxed, over spending State.



  • kevin

    Mike get over it The republican’s were voted in as a majority to start protecting us from overspending democrats.

  • Daytonisafool

    Dayton was only elected due to the independent party stripping votes from Emmer

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