Minn. Government Shutdown Puts Lives On Hold

MINNEAPOLIS (AP)– Lyda Hanson thought she was one of the lucky ones. Even before graduating from beauty school, she landed a job at a “perfect” salon and was ready to get started on her dream career.

But when Minnesota’s government shutdown prevented her from getting her cosmetology license, the hair stylist job went to someone else — and Hanson had to start her search again, telling prospective employers she has no idea when she can start.

“I feel kind of stranded at the moment,” said Hanson, 19, of Prior Lake. “I’m just kind of taking it day by day, trying to figure things out.”

While Minnesota’s budget impasse has forced 22,000 state employees out of work and shut down many services, it has also left countless ordinary citizens in limbo — unable to work or facing serious business losses because they can’t get the paperwork needed to do their jobs.

Cosmetologists, nurses, dentists and other professionals can’t get licenses to practice. Would-be drivers can’t take license tests and get behind the wheel. Some businesses are hung up because they can’t get required inspections. Hundreds of restaurants and bar owners can’t buy liquor, and fear serious fallout when current supplies run out.

“I’ve done everything that I was supposed to do,” said Erik Forsberg, owner of The Ugly Mug restaurant and bar in Minneapolis. “I followed the rules. Why is the state trying to put me out of business?”

The shutdown entered its 13th day Wednesday with no talks planned between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders. Dayton has outlined several ways to raise tax revenue, including new taxes on the rich and eliminating tax breaks. GOP leaders don’t want new taxes.

Bars, liquor stores and other venues selling alcohol — like bowling alleys or golf courses — must renew what is called a retailer buyer’s card each year to purchase booze from wholesalers. Around 320 businesses currently don’t have valid cards, and if the shutdown drags into August, roughly 400 more will see their cards expire, said Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association.

Forsberg knew his card expired June 30 — the day before government went dark — so he renewed it. He has a receipt showing he’s current, but the state couldn’t issue his actual card before closing down, so wholesalers won’t sell him the liquor or craft beers he specializes in.

Because he accidentally ordered too much liquor in his last shipment, he thinks he can get by for about four to six weeks. And he’ll continue to sell food. But his rent near the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field is expensive, and liquor sales are a huge part of what he brings in.

He’s already lost revenue. He planned to host an event for a new Belgian brewery that would have brought 1,200 people into his restaurant. Since he couldn’t buy the brewery’s product to put on tap, the brewery took its event elsewhere.

“That’s real dollars, in a sluggish economy, in a slow month,” he said.

The shutdown is causing hardships for others, too.

Kinya Gilbert finished her driver’s education classes on July 1 — Day One of the shutdown. The 15-year-old from Richfield wanted to take her written test right away so she could get her learner’s permit and get on the road to independence. But the test isn’t being offered. So she waits.

In Minnesota, drivers age 18 or under must have an instruction permit for six months before they can get a license. The delay in a permit, and a delayed license, is a hassle for both Gilbert and her parents, who have to drive her and her little brother around.

“I have swimming every day after school and I do it all year round too, so I’m going to have to get there somehow,” she said. “I’ve been taking the bus and riding my bike, but it would just be better to drive.”

Professional licenses are also on hold, with many boards that issue those certifications shut down.

Sara Cisneros, 24, of St. Paul, says she has wanted to be a nurse since age 11, when she cared for her dad after he fell off a roof. She recently graduated from St. Catherine University’s nursing program and has passed her boards — but can’t get a license to work with patients.

Cisneros has a work permit that’s good through Aug. 2, allowing her to practice under another registered nurse. She’s training at a nursing home in Roseville, where she has a job lined up.

“But if my work permit expires before the state opens, then I have to stop working,” she said. She has been at the nursing home for four years in the medical records department, and says she might be able to return to that post if she can’t get her nursing license right away.

“But it’s very disappointing to go back, when I’ve worked so hard to nurse,” she said.

Hanson also felt inspired to be a hair stylist, and wants to get started on a career where she feels she’ll help people feel good about themselves. She graduated from the Minnesota School of Beauty in Lakeville on June 30. She finished her requirements three days earlier, and called state officials that week to see if they could issue her license before July 1.

But the state requires some original documents — not copies — and officials told her they were already backed up two weeks. Fearing her irreplaceable documents would get lost during a shutdown, Hanson didn’t feel comfortable sending them in.

For two days she watched, hoping the state would keep running. When it shut down, she kept her fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be for long. Then, she learned she lost a position at a salon that she called “the perfect salon for me.” The salon needed someone immediately and opted to hire a different stylist who already was licensed.

“I was completely heartbroken,” Hanson said. Thinking she was going to start a new job, she had already cut back hours at her other job — and can’t get those hours back.

Susan Brinkhaus, executive director of the Minnesota Salon and Spa Professional Association, said the shutdown also affects salon licenses, instructor licenses, and anyone trying to renew their individual licenses — current cosmetologists must renew their licenses during the month of their birthday. So anyone with a July birthday will see their license expire this month, and likely won’t be able to get it renewed. There are about 30,000 licensees in Minnesota.

“It’s going to affect a lot of people,” she said. “In this case, they are just plain stuck.”

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

  • Recall

    Way go Dayton. Now the government is not only wasting our money but also putting people out of work. When will all the people understand the less government the better off EVERYONE will be.

    • @

      hey, that’s my handle. It’s okay…enjoy it!

    • Indy

      Way to go RECALL. You still cannot see what less government does. Republicans sure have the blinder on you. Wake up!!!!

      • JMJ

        If there was less government then these business wouldn’t be having any issues with running themselves

      • ItsTheSpendingStupid

        Dayton could have prevented this in the first palce by saying ” I agree MN government growth should be in line with private sector growth”, and accepted Republican plan.

      • Tea Pea

        @Indy…..what a STUPID statement that is!

        LESS Government would cost LESS money and this shut down would have NOT happened…

        LESS Government MAY even result in businesses NOT NEEDING a “permit” like this…..

        LESS Government would allow the “system” to work…….

        • Not a Democrat

          The Republicans held up the budget talks because they insisted on adding social engineering pork to the proposal.

          That is not acceptable. So you dipsticks saying it’s Dayton’s fault are way out in left field on this one.

  • Red Herring

    I love it. The take away aside from the amount of people dependant on my tax dollars is how intrusive the gov really is. They control way too much in the name of fee revenue. You have to capitulate before it gets better. Hopefully the non-liberals of the world (the producers) will remember this for a long time to come. The liberals will turn this in to the ‘legend of when my free money stopped showing up in my account’ and tell their grandchildren about it some day.

    • Tea Pea

      So that’s what this is about?

      You think the “producers” of the world (or MN in this case) will AGREE to raise the taxes on their business due to the FEAR of a government shut down?

      Hmmm……isn’t that extortion?

      Oh….but I bet you don’t see it that way….

      • RealityCheck

        Try actually reading before you regurgitate some stupid BS. What he is saying is that without the government having their hands in every pie out there (in the name of fees and revenues from licensing and permits) then NONE of this would matter to anyone in the least.

        Take the woman who can’t get a cosmetologists license and thus can’t work, for instance. Why is there even such a thing in the first place? Why can’t the salon decide for themselves if they want to hire someone? If it wasn’t for so many fingers being in OUR business all the time, she would simply graduate and go to work — instead, she can’t, simply because the government won’t allow her to work without her paying for a permit, solely in the name of more revenue.

        Think a little bit next time before you speak.

        • RealityCheck

          NM, my sarcasm detector was turned off on that one, sorry Tea.

  • Dinah

    The Goverment are acting pigs in my opinion. They close rest stops, ruin what should have been Independence Day family gatherings by closing parks, only meet when it is convenient to talk for ONLY 90 MIN!! Now bars and resturants will eventually close due to fading beers and business, Real living people are losing income while you guys get together to discuss whatever!! Pay the deficit already! You can afford to be off duty, we can’t!!

    • Dinah

      This State Bites!!

  • What?

    The shame is that 0 people need to be out of work. The Republicans have offered “lights on” funding which would put everyone back to work tomorrow but of course our Democratic governor knows what is best for everyone so he “holding out”. Talk about not caring about state workers…….what a hippocrit he is…………..

    • Duh

      That lights on bill had alot of detrimental strings attached to it. That is why Dayton refuses to sign it.

      • Indy

        Exactly Duh. Lights on bill would just be kicking the can down the road. Republicans add things to the bill that they know will not go over with Dayton or any other person that has the ability to reason. Then we have whiners that stick up for these republicans that do not care anything about the people of Minnesota. Nearly 70% of Minnesotans want a balanced approach. Republicans don’t care about the peoples needs and wants. That is also obvious in Wisconsin as well not to mention the whole USA.

        • Give me liberty

          Hey Indy, ever think that you might be in the minority if the whole USA disagrees with you?

          • Not a Democrat

            Social engineering is not acceptable. Period. The republicans put it in there anyway. They knew this would happen, and pushed for it.

      • Tea Pea

        Dayton has publicly stated “we need to find a way to raise taxes to settle this shut down”……

        Trust me; it’s what he DIDN’T SAY that proves he is being un-necessary.

        What DIDN’T he say?

        “I would LOVE to sit down with the leaders of the GOP to figure out spending CUTS to allow the state to get back to work”

        Dayton has NO CLUE! I used to think this recall was a little to aggressive of a call…but I am really starting to think it needs to happen!!!

        • Cy Tolliver

          So you agree with having debates about a gay marriage amendment (Republicans’ idea) instead of trying to balance the budget?

          Just wanted to make sure I had you correctly pegged.

    • P SMITH

      did you read the “lights on bill” to many social issues placed in it by the republicans that DO NOT BELONG IN THE BUDGET! example abortion,stemcelll research those are moral NOT budget!!!!!

  • mike

    You just noticed this state bites! Anyone who would of put Dayton in office has to have some serious mental problems, now I just heard the State fair might be canceled! I hope u Democrats are happy now!!! And quit blaming the GOP!!!

    • Indy

      Just putting the blame where it belongs. Republicans are nasty

    • Duh

      Mike – Its not just the Dems at fault here. The GOP is just as at fault for this.

      • Indy

        Dayton compromised. Republicans want it all their way or nothing even when nearly 70% of Minnesotans want a balanced approach. There is a much larger % of the fault with the Republicans.

    • P SMITH

      we all have a problem not Democrates or repugs,we all have mental issues so look in the mirror because the repugs are also responsible the repugs need to get to St.Paul and negotiate in GOOD FAITH!!!

  • Big Larry

    They are taking away my Beer….the one pleasure I have left is an ice cold Miller…and they are taking it away…someone needs to stop the insanity…

    • Indy

      Stock up Larry. 16 oz 24 packs of Miller are on sale right now.

    • Tea Pea

      I just bought a keg!!!

  • Give me liberty

    How can any reasonable person not see that this is a political stunt by Dayton? All of the lives he is impacting to get a tax increase passed. All the GOP wants to do is get a handle on out of control spending. They have provided a budget that Dayton refuses to sign and have indicated they are willing to pass temporary funding bills.


    • Indy

      I guess you are not reasonable. You are leaning more towards being delusional.

      All the republicans want is the middle class to support the rich mans bank account. It is all about saving the rich mans money for the republicans.

      Where do you come up with Dayton Stands alone? What drugs have the republicans slipping you?

      • Tea Pea

        Yes Liberty…..

        the sad part is Dayton is NOT standing alone….People like Indy and a whole host of clueless people stand behind Dayton as they don’t understand the idea of a “Democratic/Free Capitalist” country/state!

        A state as well as a country can NOT “tax its way to prosperity”!

        I am NOT against paying SOME taxes! We have essential services we NEED, but when people rely on the government for their way of life…..there is a problem with that!

        I live in the US because there is a direct relation to the harder you work, the more successful you will become…

        Please like Indy….I bet look at every way possible to do nothing yet get as much as the next guy who works his or her tail off…..

        Please like Indy will RUIN the US!

        • P SMITH

          no it’s the repugs way of lets push payments off for 10 or 20 years so someone else has to take care of that problem ex. the 1.5 billion that is owed to the public school system in Minnesota by Tim(whimpy)pawlenty

          • Open Season on CARP

            “owed to the schools”


            What do we “owe to the schools”?

            And how is this affecting the shut down? 2 different subjects buddy….

        • Cy Tolliver

          Social engineering is not acceptable, and that is what the republicans want. Stay out of my life. I am not interested in you forcing me to live the way you see fit.

    • Pat

      What out of control spending? You Republicans are off your nut and have no basis for your statements. pawlenty and past legislatures balanced the budget through smoke and mirror tricks that have run out. Dayton is trying to establish a budget that actually pays for what we gert.

      The only programs that have increased dramatically are the health and social services budgets for the elderly. Are you going to cut off grandma and grandpa? What’s your plan?

  • TheBunnyMan

    Isn’t it hard to imagine that we used to live in a world where a hair dresser could cut hair without state approval and business owners could buy and sell goods without the government watching over them? I say let the “shutdown” go on forever. I’m sick of our constant dive forward into a nanny state built out of my hard earned money. If it means I get an irregular haircut or that I’m responsible for making sure that I repast in clean establishments I am willing to take on that burden myself.

    • Tea Pea

      LOL…..I’m with you Bunny…isn’t that what a “democracy” is based on?

    • Kristin

      I think its way more than just an irregular haircut. Licensing standards ensure that the service and care provided is done in a manner that meets safety standards. Hey, that guy doesn’t need a license to give me a massage! Hey, if he give me a soft tissue injury, my bad! And hey, that gal driving that big-rig doesn’t need to be required to learn how to drive it! Hey, if I get smushed, that’s my bad too!! Next time I won’t drive on that road! Oh wait, I’m dead…

  • gdog

    People wanted a moronic govenor in office so now we have a moronic situation on our hands. Keep up the great work Govenor, you’ve really made a mess out of everything.

  • Rico Suave

    If your life is hold because of the shutdown, you’re a loser. That’s the real problem. Too many losers depend of government for their lives.

    • Tea Pea

      Rico…some people don’t have a choice.(Like the BUSINESS owner who HAS to have a BS certificate to cut hair)…..it’s VERY unfair to say that…..

      Now if your talking welfare recipiants…..it’s a different story…

      • Tea Pea

        OOps…..it should be “Have”…sorry….

      • Rico Suave

        OK You’re right. I know it’s causing some legitimate pain for a few, and that’s unfortunate. Remember it when the elected official you feel is responsible for this financial mess comes up for re-election. I blame Dayton entirely. But if you’re resourceful there are things you can do to survive it. You may have to deviate from your routine for a few weeks, but it’s a hit the overwhelming majority of us can and will weather, and not be devastated. My beef with all the media stories is that they’re looking for victims and trying to make it out to be the end of the world. It’s not.

  • Joe Hanson

    The real stories headline:

    “Governor Mark Dayton’s Minn. Government Shutdown Puts Lives On Hold”

    • Cy Tolliver

      The real headline as it really is:

      “Republicans stand firm on requiring social engineering, claim we all need to think like they do and live like they want us to.”

  • rcam

    I think it’s time to let both parties know enough is enough and we will get rid of every one of them come election time,regardless of party.

    • Open Season on CARP

      rcam…..I think it’s about time people realized the GOP has given Dayton MUTIPLE offers to get the state running again!
      ALL offers were SHOT down….

      I have heard rumors of the GOP adding certain provisions to their offers that do not pertain to the budget…but I think they have been tossed to the wayside! (Trust me as a GOP supporter…I was NOT happy to hear of the idea they may have been doing this…but I hear it’s well past this at this point…)

      The bottom line…Dayton has NO clue how to run a state…..

      • Cy Tolliver

        So you condone social engineering and making your neighbor live by your rules, but not vice versa.

        Got it.

  • Pat

    Republicans, Democrats, Independents, throw them all in a bag, shake it up and it doesn’t matter which you pull out it’s about their egoes, not their constituents.

    • Ted

      It sounds that way. It sounds like self preservation without any real concern for how their need to stay in office is more important than anything much. Dayton ran one a promise that was oppositie of what the GOP ran on. Now all they need to do is reach a middle ground but as one GOP said about that, “Wait until October.” It sounds to me that there is one party unwilling to bend whatsoever at all while they are saying they are. Of course. This whole mess stinks.

  • Pat

    Minnesota voters can be proud of the legislature that they put in place.
    Rich people will not see their taxes increased, by golly. We can say that Minnesota, like Wisocnsin is “Open for Business” if we follow their lead.

    We can fire 15% of our public workers, and make the rest work for peanuts (and like it or take a walk)!

    We can make old people rethink their decision to get sick and need a nursing home, even though they have NO money! (What did they expect the government to do, anyway?)

    We can create tons, and tons of private market schools to teach our kids with teachers who know their place. And forget about those “special needs” kids. Why spend valueable resources on those people?

    Gosh, it just makes chills run up my spine to think how wonderful it is to have a legislative leadership that will stand for something! How blessed are the rich! NOT!

  • Really?

    When did it become OK to raise taxes? Taxes have always been a dirty word unless you don’t pay them. Kind of makes you wonder what these idiots asking for more tax on anyone pay? Obama’s cabinet does not pay taxes but cont to hollar for more taxes. The irony is rich indeed!!!

  • Andrea Jay

    Okay, so is this site only for the millionaire’s shills? Is that the only comments you’re allowing? Here’s what I posted that never was approved by the moderator earlier: beware all of these folks beating the drums of the Republicans. Anyone who makes a million a year can more than afford to pay people to spend their days posting on these websites. I am surprised by the lack of pro-Dayton voices, there are many of them in my world. I am a worker not a lazy person. I’ve been working since I was 11 years old, I am now 45. I have never even collected unemployment. That said: March 16, 2011 MPR reported that the top 10 percent of wage earners pay a 10.3 percent effective tax rate, the rest of us 12.3 percent. That’s TWO PERCENT. Now, I don’t want Dayton to give in because the selfish Republicans, and they are hideously selfish, are holding 4,992,500 people in this state hostage so that they don’t raise taxes on the 7,500 who actually make a million a year. How fair is that??? And that is precisely what’s happening.

    And yes, I know that a lot of you are getting compensated to promote the republican agenda.

  • Andrea Jay

    Oh, and where were the &&*(& ( Republicans when I was protesting the Iraq war??? Go to cost of war dot com to see how much war has cost us since 2003…Minnesota has paid $19.1 billion alone for war…yet, the Republicans LOVE war..there’s always more than enough money for war! That’s because those wealthy republicans sit on the boards of Allianttech and Lockheed Martin, they get the profits while the public pays again and again and again. You won’t see any millionaire’s kids on the front lines, that’s for damned sure.

    • Really?

      I guess you missed Obama’s escalation of the Afghanistan war and his failure to close Gitmo? I guess you missed his starting a 3rd war? This is all his baby and the dems who don’t protest the war now are the TRUE HYPOCRITS and war mongerers!! Make no mistake that’s how history will write it!

      • Al Swearengen

        What 3rd war? We are not at war with or in Libya.

  • Les

    My life is just fine.

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