MN Judge Limits Services To Stay Open In Shutdown

ST. PAUL (WCCO/AP) — The number of services that will stay open if a government shutdown occurs will be limited, according to a Minnesota judge.

Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled the following as core or essential government services — in accordance with Gov. Mark Dayton’s determination — and therefore, those functions that would continue to be funded if there’s a shutdown:

— Basic custodial care for residents of state facilities, such as treatment centers, nursing homes, veterans homes and other state-operated services
— Public safety and public health concerns
— Preserving the essential elements of the financial system
— Benefit payments and medical services to individuals
— Necessary administrative and supportive services, such as internet security

The criteria used to determine this list of essentials included whether they were services that provided national security, services that provided benefit payments in contractual obligations and activities essential to protecting life and property.

Click here to view the complete list and executive findings. To see a list of the agencies that were recommended to close, click here.

The ruling from Judge Gearin came as Dayton and top Republicans were sequestered in the governor’s office less than 40 hours before a government shutdown would start. Gearin largely adopted Dayton’s vision of what would count as critical state services in a shutdown, rejecting a more expansive list proposed by Attorney General Lori Swanson.

She said the state’s core functions were “far less in number and breadth” than Swanson’s interpretation. Gearin ruled that some programs, such as horse racing and child care aid programs not directly tied into the federal welfare system, were important but didn’t rise to the level of critical services. She acknowledged that those programs would suffer harm from a shutdown but said her authority was limited by the constitutional separation of powers.

“Neither the good services nor the fact that they may cease to exist without state funding is sufficient cause to deem their funding to be a critical core function of government and to overcome the constitutional mandate in Article XI,” she wrote, referring to nonprofit organizations that weighed in on the case.

She ordered the state to keep paying for critical services, amending Dayton’s list to her ruling with slight adjustments.

Gearin also named former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz as a referee to rule on unclear areas of funding in a shutdown.

Dayton and lawmakers have been in secretive negotiations for nearly a week with no breakthrough. Dayton said a day earlier that Wednesday would be a critical day if they are to prevent a government shutdown. He has also ruled out calling a special session until he and the Republicans agree on the overall budget.

Republicans are pressing him to call them into special session to pass some parts of the budget and measures to prevent a shutdown.

The disagreement has brought Minnesota to the brink of its second government shutdown in six years. Gearin’s ruling made clear that a government closure would be far more extensive than a partial shutdown in 2005.

“This is going to be a tough shutdown, and people will notice,” said David Lillehaug, Dayton’s attorney in the shutdown case. “Anyone who says that government doesn’t do anything and doesn’t do it well, upon reading this order … they’re going to realize they’re very, very wrong.”

The shutdown wouldn’t affect things like police, state troopers, prisons, public health or disaster management. But citizens would see it in many other ways, such as closed state parks and rest stops, idled road construction projects, and closed state licensing offices. More than 40 state boards and agencies that carry out a variety of functions would go dark.

Minnesota is caught between a tax-the-rich governor and a live-within-our-means Legislature. The budget dispute dates to January, when Dayton became the state’s first Democratic governor in 20 years and Republicans took over the Legislature for the first time in 38 years.

Republicans swept to power campaigning against tax and spending increases, while Dayton won on a message of raising taxes on the highest earners. A five-month legislative session, and intermittent negotiations since adjournment last month, have failed to yield a solution for a $5 billion deficit.

Republican leaders either declined to comment on the ruling or said they hadn’t seen it. Dayton praised it and said he still hopes for a budget deal.

“I would much prefer a fair and balanced budget solution, rather than a government shutdown,” he said in a statement.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Pat Kessler
  • Brad

    Good question:

    What happens to the tax dollars paid to the state that are not needed by the services which have been shut down?

    • Bruce

      Think about it… shutting down all of the construction sites, web sites, email services, offices and starting them back up. Might cost a bit extra, dontcha think? I guess you don’t think. It will cost more to shut down than to keep doing business as usual. Oh yeah, plus all of the additional unemployment claims. And I keep hearing Rebuplican freshman lawmakers talk about running government like they ran their small businesses…. it is ALL partisan politics.

      • Matt

        Bruce it costs us $48 MILLION a day to run the state of Minnesota, do you still think it’s going to cost more? The size and scope of the state budget is a joke and the fact that Dayton wants more just goes to show how far our of touch he is. I, what I’m excited to see if how little of the state government we actually need.

        Have a great government shutdown, I know I will

      • Les Johnson

        “Oh yeah, plus all of the additional unemployment claims.”

        Can you please clarify which additional claims you’re referring to?

  • Huxley

    Its not really a shutdown if you pick and choose what closes and what doesn’t. You want a shutdown? Then shut it down and deal with it. Otherwise it seems like another silly political scam. Fools.

  • Unspent Taxes

    LMAO, they pay for the idiots to not be working. MN will find a way to blow those. Perhaps attorney costs?: There won’t be a surplus line item for these, be assured.

    • Joe

      Does everyone realize how many delay claims all the contractors working for the state will charge MN. They are ALL laughing on the way to the bank. It’s going to cost the state of minnesota ( and yes not using capital letters because this state doesn’t deserve capitol letters) and us the “working” public millions and millions of dollars and NO ONE CARES. WOW

      • Govt shutdown

        We care but fighting with the government that we elected, and the elected officials not listening to those who did elect them, is very disheartening. They will be spending way more to shut down and restart after they are done playing their games. But in the end we all pay dearly. Glad to be out of Minnesota, and glad to have this be my last year I need to pay into their tax bs.

      • Mindy

        Joe most contracts with the state have a clause that if there is a shutdown they are not in any obligation to pay for servies.

  • Sam I am

    So there you go. all of the welfare, medicaid, EBT, unemployment and child support checks will all be issue in a shut down.

    Medical is continuing and prisoners wont be let out.

    You can stop whining about it now.

    • Anita Morewelfare

      Yep, no more whining …. mark dayton looks after his voting base

      • Kathy

        Don’t be so sure about that. The proposed budget that he does support is a mere trickling of what the governments before our infamous Pawlenty negated with his dehumanizing psychopathic character which he proudly boasts about, because he didn’t know better.

        Mark Dayton didn’t oppose the GOP increases which are a slash of MN CARE Insurance. Looking at the numbers, he used this shutdown leverage to sustain 140,000 recipients on MN CARE. The problems is, that doctors refuse to accept this program by a great majority. Also, the procedures that are approved have been slashed tremendously.

        I feel safer to just stay home and hope that my body can cure itself.

        As for the rest of you who feel that your doctor will protect your interests, he might, if you have a pool of wealth that will bring you back to his office. The man/woman who cares little about people of lesser means is exactly the man that I want to stay away from. Consider this an education that without the face of greed, people knew less about who they deal with.

        Medical profession and legislatures are protecting each other, and Dayton holds that key. He didn’t learn how to count yesterday. Heir to the legacy of Daytons gave him many opportunities to find ways.

        Ask him about whether or not the insurance programs will cover anesthesia during all oral surgery procedures. The answer is no.

        Here in St. Cloud, MN, all dentists refuse care to those recipients. Swelling of my face is caused by an infection of several roots. No dentist referral allows me in the door to see an oral surgeon.

        I can’t get the roots removed, and my physician of 25 years told me last week that it is possible this could end my life. He is with Abott/Northwestern Hostpital.

        Governor Dayton is not protecting people of lesser means. I refuse to imply the connotation suggested by class. There are no classes that people are assigned to. If you have wealth, you’re probably a thief who gained oot much as you took unfair advantage of others. By hook or crook.

        People are people. We all live and breath the same air and in the end, each of us are accountabe for what we did or did not do during this one chance.

        Only the Catholic Church promotes wealth in this world. The more you make, the more they can get out of you. Talk about being a puppet on a string! You do what they say, and the kingdom on this earth is yours. Or is that in contradiction to their teachings? Regardless, it’s a fact.

        If you ever need anything, ask the person who doesn’t have a lot. It’s written that the Eternal Kingdom is theirs.

        GOP and our Democrat Governor Dayton are on the same page. You watch and see. Secret negotiations are kept behind wraps for a reason. They walk the same line but from different angles.

        Look at the proposed budgets if you doubt what I say. An increase by $3.6 billion dollars is also a take away from the current human service previous obligation. It’s all scaled back from even the Pawlenty Cuts who preserved healthcare to some degree.

        If the wealthy are taxed 2%, which they won’t be because our good governor was willing to bend, there will be another break to offset the difference. This likely comes by way of the $2 billion increase budgeted above the current and previous year. Again, Dayton knows how to count. So should the rest of you before you speak and make ignorant remarks.

        We have leaders who rely on stupidity by voters to allow misfortune. If you take off the rose colored glass, the clarity with which you see them will be the end of the dirty doings, once and for all.

        • Guy

          How about going & getting a job so that you can TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
          (That includes getting back on your “meds” – you are rambling & almost incoherent)

        • Les Johnson

          How’d you get such bad teeth and find yourself on MN Care?

    • what?

      How is Unemployment and Child Support lumped into Welfare and EBT as if it is a goverment handout? Those whining seem to think that anybody who is getting any supprt of any type are mooching and lazy no gooders. I can’t wait until election day to see these folks put in their place.

    • Sam

      I’m going to take it then that you didn’t actually read the article or the executive order signed by Judge Gearin.
      The judge deemed that child support not directly tied into the federal welfare system are not critical.
      Neither did I see that unemployment is going to continue.
      Or any sort of medical coverage, except for continued care of critical inpatients and emergency outpatient care.

      • Smith

        The article states it is child care aid (that is not directly tied into TANF) that is non critical, not child support.

        Child care aid helps low income working families afford the expense of childcare.
        The child support program collects and distributes support that the non-custodial parent owes to the custodial parent. Big difference between the two programs. Please re-read the article and executive findings.

        • Sam

          Apologies. You’re right. _Critical_ child support is suggested to be maintained.

          • Smith

            Thanks for taking the time to reread the findings and apologize. Nice.

            Have a good day.

  • Les Johnson

    Minnesota State Parks are about to lose MILLIONS of dollars just this next week alone.
    But at least the Republicans got a gay marriage debate all riled up again (for no valid reason)

    • Dave Campbell

      It’s all about less government interfering in our lives with the GOP. It’s OK to impose their morality and religious views on us as long as we don’t raise their taxes! We all know how many jobs have been created by not raising taxes and how well their theories work. We will be paying for T-Paws flawed accounting for years to come.

    • shane

      Gotta love them republicans, trying to make and already not legal thing illegal. It’s a shame the state parks are closing, but what can you do… oh yea blame a republican.

      • Len

        Even dummies should be able to understand this:

        The Legislatures plan increases the annual budget from last years $30 billion to $34 billion, an increase that many fiscal conservatives wish were significantly less.

        However this was part of the compromise process that was done in developing the budget with Democratic legislators and with Mark Dayton’s, late to the discussion, staff.

        Governor Dayton however insists that the “all cuts budget” budget must be raised to $37 billion.

        How an increase from $30 to $34 billion can be referred to as an “all cuts” budget beggars the imagination.”

    • Govt shutdown

      So veryyyyyyyy true! Have to worry about the GAY PRIDE first!!!!

      • Les Johnson

        That comment didn’t make any sense.

        • Sandy

          yes it does, Dayton had to march in the Gay Pride parade when he should have been trying to work this thing out. Priorities a littel mixed up.

          • Dave Campbell

            Did you stop to consider what the GOP leadership was doing while Governor Dayton was marching in the Pride parade? I’m guessing that they were doing nothing productive. Senator Koch was probably trying to find a way to look less fat on television and Zellers was trying to appease his puppet masters!

            • WHAT?

              My point was they have been spending time on that issue and not working on the budget this whole time. Their priiorities are truly misaligned. I dont like to pay for one sector of folks issues. Gay marriage is NOT a priority, when the risk of a government shut down is looming! Time for all to be ousted! Very simple! The shutdown, is going to cost millions more. Where is that money coming from???????

          • Les Johnson

            Sandy, no it still doesn’t make sense.

            Are you saying that everybody was in a meeting room hashing it out, but Mark Dayton was in the parade keeping them waiting?

  • It stinks

    I rely on the Minnesota Work Force Center and employment services. If they are shutdown or limitied that would hurt my job search. I think this whole mess is a self preservation of GOP and nothing more than that. It stinks.

    • Dawn Mattson Nelson

      I currently receive Unemployment Insurance and how would we pay our house payment, car payment, put applications in if we have no money for gas. They need to get this taken care of so there is no shutdown. It will cost more in the long run to get everything going again with the state employess probably having o work more than 40 hours a week. Is that fair? I think not!

      • Will

        I thought unemployemt payments was listea as continuing or open

  • littletingod

    In the end, whether you know it or not, everybody and I mean EVERYBODY is hurt by this shutdown/slowdown.

    Except that is for the politicians who will get their pay even if they say they aren’t going to take it. You can bet that after the dust has settled and we have a state budget in place all those politicians who said they wouldn’t take a paycheck will pass a bill at midnight to reimburse themselves for wages lost.

    • Joe

      Time for a revolution

      • Len

        be careful what you which for …

    • Len

      You little liar.

      Even dummies should be able to understand this:

      The Legislatures plan increases the annual budget from last years $30 billion to $34 billion, an increase that many fiscal conservatives wish were significantly less.

      However this was part of the compromise process that was done in developing the budget with Democratic legislators and with Mark Dayton’s, late to the discussion, staff.

      Governor Dayton however insists that the “all cuts budget” budget must be raised to $37 billion.

      How an increase from $30 to $34 billion can be referred to as an “all cuts” budget beggars the imagination.”

  • Anita Newgov

    All of this could be avoided if those darn republicans would just let dayton raise taxes on rich people so he can use the money to cater a giant state-wide gay wedding.

    And another parade, mark dayton likes parades

  • Richard Nufgln

    This is insane all the bros still get checks? They should shut it all down and impeach Dayton that would be a great start.

    • Bb

      How about shut it down and expect Republicans to quit protecting the top two percent and asking the poor, working poor, elderly and middle class to continue to be the ones making the sacrifices. Mark Dayton has offered compromises, the GOP continues holding this budget for ransom as Dayton will not budge on the top 2 percent paying more in taxes, sharing the pain. I for one stand behind him, paying for this deficit off those who have the least and are more vulnerable is shameful!!!

      • FAIRMN

        Very well said. One part though. Dayton is not asking the top 2% to pay more, he is asking for the top 2% to pay the same as the lower and middle class. That is very reasonable and very fair. If you make more money you pay more taxes, fact of life.

    • FAIRMN

      Dayton has agreed to take no pay. The GOP house and senate will be getting their checks.

  • Sue

    I’m a Republlican and I hate Koch and Zellers. What a couple of uncompromising and unfeeling trolls. You can’t just stick it to the less fortunate to make your point (budget ceiling)
    You need to be able to compromise!
    The whole state is ashamed of both parties

    • Sue (DFL) is a liar

      In case you cant figure it out

      • Sue

        Am not. Look – I don’t care for a lot of social programs – but you can’t just pull the only medical care some of these people receive in the name of a balanced budget. It’s not right – I don’t care how much you have in the “checkbook”

        • Fact

          Nobody is cutting off the dead-beat’s health care, it says that right in the article.

          I thought your messiah 0bama was paying for everyone’s health care anyway, what happened to that?

          • Sue

            It doesn’t say that in the article – you dufuss!
            Messiah – what a complete tool

          • Kieron

            If there is a God, you will someday be the same kind of deadbeat you so casually slam. Fortune works in mysterious ways. Disability, damage, disease or disaster can happen to anyone, even conservatives who hate welfare. What, then, will you do when the 4 D’s happen to you? You will WHINE that there’s nothing there to help you, that’s what you’ll do.

            • Policy owner

              Easy, if one of “the 4 D’s” happens to me I will collect on the insurance policy that I paid for with my OWN money. This will provide for me and my family during the recovery process.

              See how easy it is to not be a dead-beat burden on society – so simple even a caveman could do it!

              • Smith

                If it’s a big enough disaster you may not be able to collect until a recovery is well under way, if at all.

                One example is Miami after Hurricane Andrew. The aftermath and cleanup took many months and claims were backlogged, some for years. Many people lost everything during the storm and were further SOL when their insurance companies declared bankruptcy due to the magnitude of claims.

                In the case of disease there are a myriad ways in which your insurance company can limit or refuse payouts and/or treatments. Some diseases,like Alzheimer’s, often require long-term care and can be very expensive, even with good coverage.

                Life isn’t always as simple as one might like, even with foresight and good planning.

                • Chas

                  Insurance only covers the things YOU choose to take coverage on. The Insurance Company only pays for the coverage YOU chose. If they go bankrupt in MN there is a state fund that all companies pay into that takes over the claims.

    • Len

      Due is a little liar. :-)

      Even dummies should be able to understand this:

      The Legislatures plan increases the annual budget from last years $30 billion to $34 billion, an increase that many fiscal conservatives wish were significantly less.

      However this was part of the compromise process that was done in developing the budget with Democratic legislators and with Mark Dayton’s, late to the discussion, staff.

      Governor Dayton however insists that the “all cuts budget” budget must be raised to $37 billion.

      How an increase from $30 to $34 billion can be referred to as an “all cuts” budget beggars the imagination.”

    • Kathy


  • See BS

    This is a perfect example of the dumb baby boomer mindset that created a 5 billion dollar deficit.

    Appointed “County” Judges have no business making rulings over State Tax Dollars.

    • Joe

      Why would you say dumb baby boomer….your an idiot

  • Joe

    That’s right, this judge thinks more of the animals at the zoo, than the state workers and countless others that will be effected by the shutdown.
    I think it’s time to revolt, fire ALL the Dems and Republicans, Governor and the judge for starters.
    I think the people of MN should protest tonight in front of the capitol building, demanding the governor and ALL involved with this issue be immidiatley FIRED.

  • Bb

    Considering a majority of citizens believe that the top 2 percent of wage earners need to pay more in taxes and share some of the pain, I would say the Republicans are the party unwilling to listen to the citizens majority in this state. There have been compromises on spending and cuts by the Governor. So, whom is really holding up the budget for ransom, the Republicans to protect that top 2 percent that so far have done little in the way of sacrifice. Go after the entitlements of these politicians that are paid for off the tax payers backs. Get them off the public dole, after all is that not what republicans complain about the most!!

    • Chas

      Considering the GOP was elected by the majority of voters and the governor has make NO compromises and was not elected by the majority of voters it would appear that the governor is the one causing all the problems. If you will recall a bill spending more money than last year has been passed. I don’t know about you but we haven’t had a pay raised in years and are living with it – grow up – we can’t just keep spending more than we have and raising anyone’s taxes is not the answer.

  • Yes but

    The top 2% financed the GOP. If the GOP allows Dayton to tax the top 2% then the GOP would not look so hot. They need to hold their ground to ensure they will be elected again. There are more sitting on the sidelines who know what is goijg on and they will njot forget this whole mess. Good luck GOP. See ya.

  • MrB

    This all could be settled very easily and quickly just by changing some verbage in the budget, change it from saying “tax increase for the top 2%” to “user fee for the top 2%” done deal! Right Mr wanna be president pawlenty!!!

  • Rachel

    OK, maybe I’m just not that bright. Does this mean food stamps will continue? Does anyone REALLY know??

    • Tyrone

      Yo – it’s called EBT now sister…………..and oh yeah – keep it comin’ My family from Indiana is coming up next week! Word.

      • Joe

        Tyrone would know

    • Smith


      Food stamps and cash assistance are tied into the Federal TANF program and are therefore considered, according to the executive findings, to be critical services, which would mean that they would continue to operate during the shut down.

      • Rachel

        Thank you! Lots of folks are in bad positions these days. I am one of them. I hate taking “charity” but would be on the streets if I didn’t have assistance for food…Food stamps are the only thing I receive, but I feel for those out there who are in worse positions than I am. Smith, thanks again! I also appreciate the fact that you didn’t make a judgement call on my behalf! You’re a keeper!

        • Mary

          Rachel, you are not charity. These programs are for people that need a little help.

  • Mohamed ishi

    Please help , I need to know if I will receive my ebt and food vouchers , if not I will be in trouble .

    • Isheatmypants

      sucks to be you!

    • Kieron

      Call you county worker and lotsa luck getting through to him/her.

    • Smith


      From reading the article, it looks as though those services will have to continue being dispersed during a State government shutdown since they are tied into the Federal programs.

      So yes, you should still continue to get benefits.

  • Mohamed ishi

    Could someone please post hennipen county number fo me ? I have babies please help

    • Tommy T


  • Mohamed ishi

    Thank you Tommy I am at library do not own computer

  • Chuck

    Oh boy, here we go… :(

    Or is the irony here lost?

    • Agreed

      Yep, no need for any more discussion. Somone needs to volunteer to interpret, explain, and just answer all the questions by the distressed. Thanks to all of those for solid performance and ideas. It was fun to read–well, okay, sometimes.

  • Len

    OK, so you collect more taxes from the Rich. What happens a few years from now when the programs need more money? Where does the money come from then? Minnesota has a spending problem. Greater taxes on the Rich will not alleviate this spending addiction disease. Total State Expenditures History directly from the Minnesota Spending and Management Department archives :
    1990 = $10.0 billion…
    1995 = $13.5 billion…
    2000 = $17.6 billion…
    2005 = $23.3 billion…
    2010 =$ 28.4 billion
    Over 20 years that is a 184% increase in Minnesota State Spending !!!
    In the last 20 years the government’s consumer price index from has increased by a total of 66%.
    … So the bottom line is that Minnesota state spending over the last 20 years has increased by 184% while inflation was at 66%.

    • Chas

      Well put, but they won’t get it

  • Len

    Even dummies should be able to understand this:

    The Legislatures plan increases the annual budget from last years $30 billion to $34 billion, an increase that many fiscal conservatives wish were significantly less.

    However this was part of the compromise process that was done in developing the budget with Democratic legislators and with Mark Dayton’s, late to the discussion, staff.

    Governor Dayton however insists that the “all cuts budget” budget must be raised to $37 billion.

    How an increase from $30 to $34 billion can be referred to as an “all cuts” budget beggars the imagination.”

    • Len

      It looks like I’m doing somethign right :-)

    • weird argument

      I don’t understand this reply.

      • Len

        Selective understanding? :-)

  • nadinemarinaro

    I am part of the 2% that they want to raise taxes on, but ill tell you this, im only able to make that kind of a living because of the child care assistance program and im more then happy to make the extra payment to our state taxes to insure the continued funding of these programs. Im all for dayton and what he is trying to do as are most minnesotains that are making that kind of money. ive seen families loose their homes, go hungrey, lost their jobs, etc and its the low income and middle class that will suffer in the long run if we dont suport our governor.

    • Len

      Sure, sure, and we belive ya. :-)

    • Come on

      You are only in the top 2% because of the child care assistance program? Give me a break.

      • Shut it down!

        Probably is in the top 2% because of running a facility that cares for children of people who are on welfare.

        Real classy lobbying for extra taxes to be stolen from the paychecks of honest working people so they can line their own pockets

        • WHAT?

          I have to laugh at the joking going on this board. It truly is sad. We elected people who are driving out state into the ground, and hell next month or a little more the US government shuts down, and goes bankrupt. Gotta love the elected officials. We are all hurting. But hey lets bring in more immigrants to the doles of those of us who are working. And keep the us people who have to pay taxes on the sidelines with no jobs, losing everything, truly a messed up trend! Stop the WASTE!

  • Len

    Little liar. :-)

    Even dummies should be able to understand this:

    The Legislatures plan increases the annual budget from last years $30 billion to $34 billion, an increase that many fiscal conservatives wish were significantly less.

    However this was part of the compromise process that was done in developing the budget with Democratic legislators and with Mark Dayton’s, late to the discussion, staff.

    Governor Dayton however insists that the “all cuts budget” budget must be raised to $37 billion.

    How an increase from $30 to $34 billion can be referred to as an “all cuts” budget beggars the imagination.”

    • Pants on Fire

      Try again. Do some fact checking!!!!

  • Len

    Dayton is a Marxist. And his supporters are “useful idiotes”.

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