MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – An independent panel will try to solve Minnesota’s budget crisis and end the government shutdown. Former Vice President Walter Mondale — a Democrat — announced the formation of a blue ribbon committee.
“We hope (it) will have the power and strength to move this process off dead-center,” said Mondale.
Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson joined Mondale in creating the six-member panel consisting of former lawmakers, business executives and two former state finance commissioners.
“To the best of my knowledge, Minnesota has never gone through this kind of a broad shutdown,” Carlson said. “And there isn’t any one of us here that can predict when that shutdown will come to to an end.”
Carlson and Mondale won’t serve on the panel themselves. They say it will be co-chaired by Republican former state Sen. Stephen Dille and Democratic former state Rep. Wayne Simoneau. The commission will also include Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget commissioner, Jim Schowalter.
“Like you, I love Minnesota,” Mondale said. “I think we are special. I think that this state has always been a little bit different, and as far as I’m concerned, better than other states.”
Other members include budget experts chosen for their bipartisan records.
“This would put before the people of Minnesota — and before the governor and the legislature — a third approach,” said Carlson.
Carlson says the panel begins work Wednesday and hopes to have budget recommendations by the end of the week.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports
Skeptical Republicans called Carlson a big spender and Mondale a national economic failure.
“We learned terms like misery index, stagflation and took the country into a period of economic turmoil really unprecedented since the Depression,” said Republican Sen. Dave Thompson.
Meanwhile, Republican leaders resumed budget talks with Gov. Dayton but both sides seemed not to have moved much.
“Road construction projects should be going. Parks should and could be open,” said Sen. Amy Koch. “There’s only one thing standing in the way of that.”
Dayton said he’s standing firm.
“They made it very, very, very clear they are willing to shut down state government rather than agree to taxing people who make over a million dollars a year,” he said.
The governor and Republican leaders will meet again Wednesday. Both sides will take on the biggest roadblock: human services funding.
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