Reality Check: Minnesota’s Historic Shutdown

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota is about to enter the record books: the longest state government shutdown in modern history.

Only five states have had government shutdowns since 2002. Out of seven state shutdowns in the United States, Minnesota has had two.

None of the others lasted as long as the shutdown is in Minnesota.

Here’s a list:

Tennessee: 3 days in 2002.

New Jersey: 7 days in 2006.

Michigan twice: for 2 hours in 2007 and 4 hours in 2009.

Minnesota: shut down for 9 days in 2005 and so far this year: 8 days and counting.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton calls it “frustrating” and adds it’s never good for a state’s reputation.

“I think it says we have two very divided political perspectives,” said Dayton, who was sworn into office in January. “It’s not unlike the rest of the country and what’s happening in Washington, DC.”

On Sunday, Minnesota’s shutdown will have lasted for an unprecedented 10 days, breaking its own previous 9-day record for a government shutdown set in 2005, under Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

As of late Friday afternoon, there are no new negotiations scheduled between Dayton and Republican leaders.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Joe Hanson

    Governor Mark Dayton, too incompetent to govern.

    • Mike

      The Republican legislatures will face voters in 2 years time, that is not long enough for Minnesotans to forget their intransigent extremism and that will be the end of free lunches for the insatiable Koch and the money grubbing Kurt Zeller. It won’t be soon enough to get rid of these uncompromising rookie politicians who have done everything they can to distract voters with social issues and trying to set policy that will further erode the middle class. To ___ with you ___ _____ Republicans!

      • Mike with Tunnel Vision

        To ___ with you _____ Democrats!

        If you want class warfare….tax the rich…because they can afford it…and because they’re rich. Why not tax the state government employees…because they are state government employees…and because they don’t mind higher taxes as long as they don’t see cut backs.

        Or another class warfare….tax increases for the democrats…because they are democrats…and because they are the only ones who care about the less fortunate.

        Do you consider Dayton a veteran politician? Mr. “All or Nothing” governor? Your failure veteran politician governor is the one who said “No” to any partial agreements that could have been passed and pushed for the broadest state government shutdown ever….and now the longest state shutdown as well! Dayton and all democrats know that republicans have more to lose and that’s why Dayton said it was to their advantage. And you wonder why we have a broad state government shutdown! It’s hard line party politics and democrats love it! I hope those laid off are loving it too.

        • frozenrunner

          Interesting that you accuse another of having tunnel vision when you can’t seem to remember that the light on bill came with strings attached. Those strings were the GOP social agenda. If the republicans have more to lose why do they not amend their positions? Giving up a 200 million dollar corporate tax break in light of the billions in differences between the two is not much.

    • Tom Parent

      Dayton was one of the worse US senators ever and is now becoming one of the worst governors. It’s always easy to spend someone elses money. We need to drastically cut more of the social programs. Right about another election in two years–a chance to get rid of more of those who want to spend other peoples money. We’re already taxed way too much.

      • frozenrunner

        What would you cut? MFIP, DMP, and general assistance make up about 500 million of the budget of 12 billion. About a third of this goes towards getting them into work. The programs mentioned are for the one people on this board so affectionately call the freeloaders. About 7 billion goes into the medicaid and health care of the elderly and disabled.

  • Just Cause

    “Listen to the people who are talking about how to fix what’s wrong,
    not the ones who just work people into a snit over the problems.
    Listen to the people who have ideas about how to fix things,
    not the ones who just blame others.”
    M. Ivins

    • Citizen

      @Just Cause. The late and truly great Molly Ivins. The country sorely needs her wisdom and commentary in these times.

  • David Warren

    If Government doesn’t start to represent all of the people,things will change for the worse. None of us can live in a divided state. You are just jerking our chain with no real answers. We can’t exist at the current rate of debt for long. Compromise or not somethings going to give. People are tired of the blame game and want real results. We might not all be happy with the outcome, but business has been streamlining for years, we all should expect the government to do the same without cutting services. Find the waste and eliminate the backroom deals.

  • C J McKowen

    How would you resolve a financial problem in your household? I think the majority of us would cut back on spending and attempt to gain additional income via working a second job or selling our non-essential items. Our elected governor and elected representatives cannot agree on a plan. The governor wants to raise taxes on those who already pay more than forty percent of all collected taxes and continue to spend beyond our means. The legislature wants to cut spending and not raise taxes …… what makes sense for the state of MN?

    • Captain America

      Well said C J

    • Just Cause

      @C J McKowen I would increase my families revenue, by getting a second job, seeing as the MN government can’t get a second job, time to raise taxes

      – we’ve been cutting programs for 8 yrs, time to try something different

      The household/family budget analogy is old and such an over simplification, but it makes for a great political catchphrase

      • Over Simplified

        @Just Cause
        So you would increase your families revenue by getting a second job and continue to spend more than your total income and you would find yourself still in a budget crisis just like the state of MN. What an ingenious idea!

        -THAT’s what we’ve been doing for the past 8 yrs, time to do something different….like making cuts without increasing spending!

        If you’re so keen on raising taxes…there is no one stopping you from paying more in state taxes than are required. Just don’t take all the tax breaks the next time you fill out your taxes!

        • Just Cause

          @Over Simplified I just had this visual of you sitting at the family table, discussing the family budget shortage with your family

          – little Johnny it’s time for you to move out, we can no longer afford to feed you and have you live here, I don’t care where you go but just not my house
          – mom, I’m really sorry you’ve been sick, but due to me not being able to make enough we need to euthanize you

          Oh, it’s a bright future in this family

          • Matt

            LOL Just Cause, nice Republican Death Panel idea

  • Michele

    The legislature also refuses to look at any other revenue possibilities. This state has not raised taxes for eight years. Even the most basic employee gets a cost of living increase in eight years!

    • Jake

      Funny, I haven’t had one in at least 10, and I am a private sector union employee.
      What world are you living in??

    • devildog3249

      You clearly dont understand taxes. You dont raise taxes like you do a salary otherwise you will inevitably end up at a 100% tax rate. As people’s income goes up so does the state treasury. Hence the reason MN will receive 6% more this biannual budget then it did in the last one.

      • jimmy


        You clearly have no clue. That forecast had nothing to do with income going up. The only incomes going up are the top 1% and the state is not allowed to tax them.
        The increase was based on people going back to work. You don’t have to worry about that now the Republicans shut the state down and more people are out of work.

        • Sean

          jimmy you are so wrong. The GOP said there would be 6% more revenue There are going to be well paying jobs for all. Simple faith in their programs will cause amazing job growth in the next two years that has not been seen in the last 4. Having voter ID requirements, no gay marriage will save money as there will be no gay divorces. No stem cell research will in the long run help people live less long thus saving us more money. Never mind the insignificant research grants. You just have to believe jimmy. Do we need to switch to whatever herbal tea they are drinking?

          • Against the shutdown

            Marriage is a religious issue that should not be part of the state. Hence the separation of church and state that the forefathers of the constitution wrote into law. We should abolish any marriage certificates and simply give every person a standard tax deduction for a single person. Then you would have no costly straight couple divorces. What a waste of time that legislators took to put a gay marriage ban amendment vote into action that is purely a religious issue and not one of public safety.

  • Kevin

    THe MAJORITY voted repubs in to do just this!!! SHUT DOWN THE LIBERAL BS SPENDING!!!! SHUT EM DOWN!!!!

    • Matt

      thanks for voting to make the poor poorer by cutting services that are used by the elderly and the disabled. Thank you for cutting education costs forcing our children to be even more stupid and poor while the rich are sending their children to private schools. Thank you for all the help you’ve done. Thank you for causing many state and private workers to be laid off, thanks for getting parents fired because they weren’t able to afford child care without help.

  • Lori

    And I voted that we be treated fairly. I’m tired of the middle taking all the hits. Time to gather the correct amount from the top of the scale who have bought their voice, and take the nipple away from those abusing the bottom end. This will give back to education what it’s been lacking and support those that truly do need services and are not abusing it.

  • Jake

    Stand your ground, GOP. This goof of a governor evidently hasn’t realized the MASSIVE GOP takeover of over 700 state and federal legislative seats that took place in the last election. He hasn’t realized the fact that other, uber-lilberal states like NY and CA have slashed their state budgets to match revenues with expenditures, and how about Wisconsin?? He will not win. He is not that popular, has a horrible political record, and has no fresh, original, or fair ideas as to how to resolve this problem. And I thought that Jesse was a loser…..

    • Paul Solinger

      Well, Jake, I know what Dayton has realized. That he will be in charge for four years. Republicans – only two. Minnesotans will get a chance to rectify their mistake in 2012.

      • lk

        First Dayton shuts down his Senate office in Washington DC. Then he shuts down Minnesota. Brilliant.

        The only thing that will get rectified in 2012 is more dems out the window.

        • Paul Solinger

          Wow, lk, your powers of analogy are astounding. Those two things are sooo related. Now if the Republicans weren’t so eager to protect the top .03% of Minnesotans from paying their fair share, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

          • Captain America

            How much is enough? With all taxes considered the rich already pay 40 to 50 percent or more of their income, how much should we take? The middle class already pays 35 to 40 percent and half our population pays almost nothing. We need a flat tax and tax reform and we need to cut spending as we do not have a revenue problem. Dayton and the progressive left will never be happy with any budget presented and will always want more spending and taxation and will not be happy until we are a socialist state.

            Recall Dayton and lets cut spending.

            • Matt

              I am all for cutting spending, however the republicans are doing it the wrong way. We need to cut the waste not the needs. Also we could have less taxes if businesses would start hiring people. More people with jobs means more paying taxes, which would cause the rate of tax to go down. So Republicans please tell your $$$ to start hiring

      • Jake

        Really? What if we put MORE republicans into office in 2012, so they can override a dayton veto? What will you say then?

        • Matt

          I would say the world would come to the end. Republicans are refusing to even show up for work. If they are that lazy why should we get more?

    • Against the shutdown

      I agree that Governor Dayton could be doing a better job at leading. I also think the republicans are stubborn idiots. This is why government is in such a mess is because the hypocrisy of the voter. People for some reason are voting in people that are the totally opposite of the people that they were unhappy with before. Then they get unhappy again and vote for the complete opposite again. When you have two parties that are so different and stubborn, then what happens is that nothing gets done. This is why the American voter has to have more guts and vote for moderate independents that are not part of either the democratic or republican party. Change comes from the middle not the extremes. Additionally, how stupid for both the governor and the legislative leaders to reject the independent committee report on how to balance the budget that was proposed by two highly respected politicians (Mondale-D and Carlson-R). There budget proposal was comprised of 70% spending cuts and 30% revenue increases. This makes sense to me. It also seems that the republicans would win overall on such a plan as the majority of it is comprised of spending cuts. These people are idiots!!

  • what?

    Seriously, where did everyone go? Why aren’t they talking? Can’t they just vote on something? Anything?

  • lk

    GOP – Stand your ground. DO NOT GIVE IN. We swept you into power in 2010 for this very reason. Minnesota spending is out of control and needs to be curbed. We are proud of you, GOP, and standing with you.

  • common sence

    I agree with IK The Spending is out of control.. If you want to increase revenue Try a a rasino and or open up Sunday Liquor sales.. Taxing people no matter how much money will only fix the short term. What will happen the next time around when you are looking for more money for all these programs? Cut the waste and live within your means..

    Taxing rich people will only have a trickle down effect anyways. They are the ones that employ workers, they don’t move there bottom line they pass on the increase to the public.. How dumb are Liberals?

  • kevin

    As I said before, New Jersey has a budget of 30 billion taking care of 9 million people in there state. Why can we not take care of 5 million people with 34 billion budget? Answer: entitlments. Far to liberal for to many years that has brought in outstaters, fraud, illeagls you name it .It’s going to take some harsh steps to reverse this trend. Take these steps now or our state will face a for sure bankruptsy

    • frozenrunner

      The state of New Jersey pays about 10 billion a year to k12 education where Minnesota is at 15 billion New Jersey has one of the highest property tax rates in the nation. In two years Governor Christie has made some progress on the Forbes list for business friendly states They are up to 40 from 45. Minnesota is 15.
      From other sources, Minnesota has one of the highest nursing home population in the nation. That could be based on percent of the population. That contributes significantly towards the 6.2 billion spent there.

  • lea

    So it seems to me that the government can have vacations but us minnesotans can’t because of them…I think they should all be put in a room & can’t leave at all until everything is settled. & why shouldn’t the millionairs pay extra taxes, they’ve been getting tax breaks for years.

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