ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The State of Minnesota will send out the first of nearly 36,000 layoff notices Wednesday to state workers ahead of a possible government shutdown.
The announcement came Tuesday from the Minnesota Management and Budget office, which said 800 notices will go to law enforcement support workers.
The cause: the Minnesota legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton can’t agree on a state budget. It’s a stalemate is threatening many state programs, which would lose funding July 1, the beginning of the state’s fiscal year.
“The face to face contact we have with government every day will disappear,” said Eliot Seide, the executive director of AFSCME Council 6, the union representing 18,000 state employees. “People will notice the state government shutdown the moment it shuts down.”
The Dayton administration is ranking 36,000 state workers as essential or non-essential and the services they provide: on a priority scale 1 through 4.
Among the services that could shut down, according to state officials: State parks, including campsites and picnic areas. Road construction projects. Highway rest stops and truck weigh stations. Driver testing and processing new driver’s licenses. Applications for the state health insurance program MNCARE. Grants to local public health agencies.
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Among the state employees’ services likely to be deemed “essential:” The Dayton Administration plans to keep prisons open, and prison guards working. The state patrol will still patrol state roads. And veteran’s homes and nursing homes will likely remain open, although staffing levels are uncertain.
The possible shutdown can be averted if Dayton and Republican leaders can agree on a state budget before July 1.
Dayton vetoed the entire Republican budget as “unacceptable,” and no budget talk plans have been made public.