Restarting Minn. Gov’t More Than Flipping Switch

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota may soon have an end to its government shutdown, but re-starting the machinery of the state will probably take a few days.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders fell short Sunday of their goal of being ready for a special session Monday to finalize a deal struck late last week. They issued a joint statement saying the work “continues to move in a positive direction” but wasn’t over.

Dayton spokeswoman Kathleeen Tinucci said they didn’t expect to make any more news later in the night.

“Considerable progress has been made,” said the statement, issued Sunday night. “A special session will be called as soon as our work is completed, and all bills have been reviewed and agreed upon.”

If rank-and-file lawmakers sign off on the deal, it will end a shutdown that’s the longest in recent U.S. history.

But for residents whose lives have been disrupted, the relief won’t be immediate.

“It’s not like we can just flip a switch,” said Doug Neuville, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, which has halted renewal of driver’s licenses and vehicle tabs during the shutdown. The computer systems used to issue renewals take time to bring back online, and the services won’t be immediately available, he said.

Same goes for closed rest stops and state parks. State budget office spokesman Jonathan Pollard said those must be cleaned and thoroughly checked before people can use them again. Road construction projects idled by the shutdown are likely to require safety checks before work can resume.

Licensing hang-ups for beer distributors could take several days to unsnarl as well, as returning state workers deal with backlogs that built up during the shutdown.

“It depends on the level to which the services were down,” Pollard said. “If you have an agency that’s mostly been up and functioning, it may be easier than if you have an agency that’s been completely shut down.”

The Dayton administration will likely consider the shutdown officially over once the governor signs new budget bills into law, Pollard said.

It’s not clear yet when that might happen. The governor and Republican leaders agreed late Thursday to the framework of an agreement to end the shutdown, and they spent the weekend trying to fill in the details. Once a session starts, Republican leaders need to get the spending bills through the House and Senate and to Dayton’s desk, which means getting rank-and-file Republicans to sign on to a deal that some will have a hard time with.

One big question after the last shutdown was whether state workers would be able to claim back pay for lost time.

But Michael Kuchta, spokesman for AFSCME Council 5, said a memorandum of understanding between unions and the Dayton administration before the shutdown granted laid-off workers the right to apply for unemployment with the understanding that they couldn’t claim lost pay when recalled.

The state could still face lawsuits, however, from businesses and citizens who decide they were harmed by the shutdown.

Tom Hanson, who was former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s lead budget negotiator during the 2005 shutdown, said he hoped contingency plans drawn up then would serve the state well now.

“They are better prepared today, in 2011, than we were in 2005,” Hanson said. “There are detailed plans for starting up government after a shutdown.”

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

  • Dave Middle Class Taxpayer

    10.4! The GOP’s inability to compromise made this 10x worse than it had to be.

    • Leroy

      One question,
      Why didn’t Dayton work for a temporary solution to keep the state running?
      The GOP tried, but governor goofy wouldn’t hear of it.
      Who really made this worse?
      DAYTON, remember that in three years.
      He caused all this for political gain.

      • jack

        Perhaps if you took the time to read and understand what the offer was you would knoww why he didd not sign it

        • Citizen

          @jack. That is a lot to ask of GOP apologists–read, that is!

  • joe

    Republicans showed everyone how reasonable they can be. On a scale of one to ten, ten being most reasonable, what do you think their score is.

    • Jimmy

      “The computer systems used to issue renewals take time to bring back online, and the services won’t be immediately available, he said.” I bet this guy is a Republican working for the state. I can turn on 1000 people with computers in 10 minutes, how come me can’t turn out 1000 computers in 10 minutes?

    • Kath Church

      Negative 10

    • Sue

      Laffs so hard I fall off my Donkey !!Are you serious !!

      • Jake

        Or did the donkey fall off of you?

  • Chuckie

    Both sides are to blame, printed the list of those who took paychecks under shut down, will take the list to the voting booth, no one who got checks get my vote…get out and VOTE this time

    • Ruth

      Where did you get the list of those who got checks? I will do the same when it comes to voting time!

    • Amanda

      For some of them, this is their only income. Some of them depend on the check just as much as the rest of us. And others took their pay but sent it to charities effected by the shutdown. So don’t be so quick as to use your list as a black and white guide

      • Ruth

        For most of the state workers laid off because of the politicians’ inability to resolve the budget it is their ONLY income. The politicians should have thought about that before they started their schoolyard bullying, pointing fingers, etc. If you or I didn’t do our job we would be shown the door and left with no income. Both politicial parties are to blame and they do NOT deserve a paycheck. They are a disgrace to this state and their “profession.”

    • shrugged

      You might want to use a highlighter on your list for the few you actually get to vote for and add this info for more profound offerings at the voting booth:

      The $35.5 billion two-year budget deal would cause the state to double down on short-term financial shifts that could make it even more difficult for Minnesota to right its ledger in coming years.

      For example, the state will end up owing a record $2.1 billion to K-12 schools with no method laid out yet for paying that money back.

      Last week, the national firm Fitch Ratings downgraded the state’s credit rating over the use of these types of stopgaps and warned against similar one-time accounting tricks.

      Borrowing $700 million against future tobacco settlement revenue would involve repayment with significant interest. A bonding bill would add jobs but also add to the state’s mounting debt service.

    • Paulie

      Great idea!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jake

    You can bet that when our state gov’t workers return to the job, they will take their old sweet time getting things back to normal. They have to prove to us how important all of their jobs are. For them, it will be payback time, courtesy of dayton.

    • Citizen

      Jake is again buying the GOP propaganda of starving the government and belittling its workers. The GOP has been quoted as saying that the best government worker is an incompetent one (because it aids the GOP’s argument that government is incompetent and should be downsized). Quit supporting the overthrow of government, Jake!

    • Bryson Powers

      Don’t be bitter,Jack.

  • Sam I am

    Excuse me people – but this is the exact proposal that the GOP offered on June 30 and your Governor turned it down. Then 2 weeks in to a shut down Dayton is tired of getting yelled at and says gee I will take the deal on June 30.

    This one is totally 100 percent Dayton’s fault.

    • Sue

      *coughs* Bullsht .Check your facts before engaging your mouth

    • shrugged

      Jese, you’re really not right there Sam. I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased that this budget doesn’t contain the rediculous social junk the 1st did. It’s not even close to being a good budget but is, by far, better than the first–thanks to Dayton for protecting MN from the crazy right wing christian nut jobs.

      • Jerry

        shrugged, that social “junk” would have big effects on lots of folks out here. My understanding, it was not part of the deal offered just before the shutdown though, but came later – probably to give Dayton a way to back down without losing anymore face. That social “junk” was part of separate legislative actions/discussions earlier in the regular session, not part of the budget deal (appropriately, since they are not budget items)

        • Eric

          Jerry, get your facts straight and quit trying to cover up that lie. I know for a fact the “social junk” was in the proposal, you are a the typical republican liar.

          • Jerry

            disagree – think it was not part of the deal, but think Kessler said it was added at the last hour (probably to give Dayton something to bargain with and mostly to make their statement about causes don’t you think – knowing that bird wasn’t going to fly? I could be wrong about the timing, but I do think it was just a political ploy) And stop the name-calling – I am no Republican, and no liar. I can be mistaken as can you. I’m also not a poli, so not practiced at cover-up.

        • shrugged

          Check your facts Jerry. Your understanding is wrong. Last minute, June 30th–suddenly that budget needed abortion, stem cells, voter I.D. etc attached. Hmmm. Nope. Nix that social pork–Dayton did right.

  • stuff starting up

    Great turn the freebie switch back on for the liberals and democrats. Maybe buy another xbox game or a new Droid x2. What the heck, it’s all free so why not get ’em both.

    • kman

      Ya Know your right The First thing our Republicans did was Cut taxes for the Rich Corpertions Wow Billionair Vikings owner Looking for His Fair Share 600 Million and Do a little Reserch Bush Tax Breahs Have too Date Lost More Jobs than they have created.Republican Voters need to Look at where the Campain Money is coming From

      • Is this one sentence

        wow kman. What language is this?

        • kman

          Did you come up with this alone

    • no end to welfare

      They still got their freebies on the 1st of the month.

      • Sue

        Who exactally is they? Since you didn’t state whom they are > Lets assume you are talking about the Tax breaks> cause if you’re talking about welfare,. Your ass just over loaded your mouth….Hold up your pay stub for us bucko. Then we will talk about what benifts you got to get where you are ..Look in your past or God Forbid.your future. .I am sure theres been a time or will be a time you got a hand up ,too.

        • Tony

          I don’t think it’s a hand up, you mean “handie” had a liberal drug user/voter give me one in minneapolis.

        • Jake

          NOPE, not ME, at least from GOVERNMENT. Very few of my immediate family would say differently. So, when can I expect that BIG, TAX-FREE check from my government, Sue??

        • no end to welfare

          Not real bright there Sue.

        • Income transfer for Sue

          Hi Sue, this is the state government. Where would you like us to send your free stuff? Shall we keep it the same as before. EBT, and the other income transfer payments. We will go ahead and send it to your section 8 address if that is acceptable to you.

        • Leroy

          The difference is, we will get a hand up, not a welfare permanent income.

  • sue

    You can’t just flip a switch…. Odd> isn’t that how they shut it down??

  • RW

    Vote the rabid Democrats out of office.

    • Eric

      Good job RW you can spell seven words, keep at it and soon you will be at eight, like the rest of the republicans. I’ll say it again, if you want a red state move to SD, its just west of here, then you wont have to complain anymore it’s that easy.

      • Jake

        Yeah, sure, look at what the dfl did in WI after their free and fair elections last fall. TRASHED the Capitol. dfl legislators ran out of the state with their tails tucked firmly between their legs when things didn’t go their way. Doctors writing FAKE sick notices to thug mobsters trashing the Capitol. The term ‘rabid’ describes many liberals VERY WELL. Zero brains, all emotion.

        • Citizen

          @Jake. The DFL DID NOT TRASH THE CAPITAL! Quit spewing lies. Are you getting PAID by the GOP to post these lies and to subvert government? You certainly seem to forget to add that at least 6 GOP representatives and soon Governor Walker are being recalled. Recall petitions are hard to get together, so it speaks volumes about the anger of Wisconsin voters that they did these recall petitions so fast.

          • Bad teacher

            Your’e right. It was members of the DFL teachers union that caused thousand of dollars in damage. Teachers called in sick to trash the capitol.

  • Ali

    Everyone now knows what a bunch of inept lazy clowns we have for State Union Employees. This proves how utterly stupid they are and how one private sector person could replace 10 of them easy. Please remember this when they go on strike which they are already planning…yep

    • Citizen

      Ali is again buying the GOP propaganda of starving the government and belittling its workers. The GOP has been quoted as saying that the best government worker is an incompetent one (because it aids the GOP’s argument that government is incompetent and should be downsized). Quit supporting the overthrow of government, Ali!!

      • Steve

        I don’t think he’s supporting the overthrow of the govt. at all. Just because you aren’t pro-government to the length of liberals doesn’t mean you hate the govt or want it dissolved. You can hardly say republicans are crazy or anything else for wanting some form of rational control of creating laws and increasing spending. $30 per brand for a multimillion dollar company? and if they don’t pay the exact amount they need to pull everything off the shelves in the state? OK You win! We need more laws and controls on this society.

    • Eric

      Ali, you are so right man good comment, they are worthless, EXCEPT WHEN YOU NEED THEM for something right?

  • Kath Church

    We THE PEOPLE HAVE TO to start a process to get a referendum in place for next election that if state has to shut down again. NO ONE GETS Paid!!! IF THEY CAN’T COME TO AGREEMENT! AND THEN WE WILL SEE HOW LONG TO THEY TAKE TO DO THEIR JOB IF THEY WON’T GET PAID FOR IT!

    • shrugged

      Yeah, but the problem with that is–from what I’ve read–is they are paid in installments. They would just loophole that into being paid during regular session. The way to fix it is to have the budget creation year fall in the election year.

    • Jake

      For sure. How stupid is it to have a ‘special master’ (gee, never heard of this in MN state lawbooks) and a COUNTY judge determine what is essential and what is not?
      However, I would say that lawmakers should get HALF pay, because they still have a job to do, and then NONE of them could choose to turn it down for political gain. If they still won’t take it, then they can donate their pay to a charity or something similar.

  • Kman

    Mn Republicans Giving Tax Breaks for Jobs when we have a -5 Billion dollar short fall I get That what I don’t Get is you shuting down our state over Stem cell-Voter ID-and investing in our State.Now that’s over can we get Back to Giving the Billionaire owner of the Vikings 300 Million that we don’t Have so you can make your cuts to the Truly Needy

    • Jake

      Some of the dumbest people on the planet post HERE.

      • kman

        Your Right Jake let me Guess you Voted for Bush Twice

        • Jake

          Yeah, and I’ve also served my country, and never gotten an entitlement. So let me guess, you voted for obama and clinton, one who is a debt freak and the other who sold out our country to Mexico and China, and defends dopers and who might never wear a military uniform. Am I pretty close?

          • Stien

            You serverd your country and never gotten an entitilement? That’s strange, most people who server their country do! Usually VA benefits, military pension ect. Only dopers don’t wear a uniform! Now that’s rich! Those people you vote for every strap one on? Riiiiggghhhhhttttttt! I come from a military family, so as they say………fire away!

          • Kman

            your on the Presidents and I get My entitlements Every Month as an 27year Retired army Vet..and before pointing a finger at Clinton for Selling out America do a Fact Check on How Much work a company has to do in the USA to get a Republican Tax Break

  • AJ9000

    The best solution would have been to stop all State expenditures AND State tax revenues for the period the government is shut down. Then see after a month how many want to restart it. Of course all the County and Local governments would still operate and issue licenses as they do now, The Minnesota people would quickly see how valuable – or not – the State operation is. THEN hold a new general election.

  • AJ9000

    Of course most would want to restart many State operations, do it owuld not be an elimination. The DOT, Court system, and the most essential services would likely be restored, but in a reduced form, by those elected after the people vote again.

  • D

    If you take the Republicans and Democrats out of this Budget compromise. You have the Rich and the poor. The Rich don’t want to be taxed. The poor cannot afford it, so its a battle of who can afford to hold out the longest.

    Apparently the Wealthy can take the longest time because they don’t feel the squeeze of the economy. They can afford to be off work several weeks and not go bankrupt. No real compromise, just the rich get richer. They win again.

  • Inreality

    Huh, the government is shut down or something? I would of never known, my life hasn’t changed, I’m still going to work, still getting taxes withheld and life is moving along. Of course, I think the average productive citizen isn’t going to notice much. No starving people on the streets that I am aware of. Let’s keep the test going for another 6 months and see what happens. We can then go back and tweak government to what we actually need and get it to conform with essential priorities.

    • Stien

      Perfect! I do feel bad for all those PRIVATE Sector folks! Must be a b””tch when you get laid off when the State shuts down. Also those poor small businessess who depend on people spending money in their towns while on vacation and the like. Here I thought the GOP was all about small business. Guess not!

      I love it! Shut it down until it affects me! Are people really that stupid?

      • Randy


        You are incorrect with your assumptions. The govt has it’s hands in a bunch of things they don’t need to be in. Brand registration for $30 a brand? So they can’t sell millions of dollars of alcohol in the state at an increased tax rate? I bet those republicans pushed that through some how! WRONG! Liberals want the government to run EVERYTHING. In minnesota they have mostly accomplished this. By regulating anything and everything they can. About the only thing I can do legally without the governments permission is have sex with any/everything.

    • Jason

      This post makes sense to me. I agree 100%

  • Ted

    It will take months for the Minnesotaworks.Net to get back employers who abandoned the site because it was shut down. Sad. Of alll things to shut down, that was not one of them. I thought both the DFL and GOP were all about jobs. Shutting down DEED and has me wonder if really they are.

  • Middle of the road

    While the rabid appear to be out in force, just ask yourself how we got into this mess. Who wrote the last budget bill for Minnesota, the democrats. Who included 3.5 billion fedral dolalrs in the budget that we are now obligated to pay by minnesota tax payers, once again the democrats. Who refused to negotiate with the then republican governor and over rode his veto (legally), again the democrats. Who has set budget bills in this state for the past 38 years prior to this republican legislature, again the democrats. So, then who has spent all the money we did not have and set all this up? I know many will disagree with me, but keep your personal attacks to yourself. All that I post here are facts, you take them for what they are.

  • kevin

    Citizen, the DFL didn’t trash the capitol, they trashed the city of St Paul during the RNC Convention and the state capitol is Wisconsin this spring. I’m still waiting for the unions and Dfl radicals to step forward and pay for the damages. Right the repairs again are coming out of ,you guested it the tax payers pocket. Thank you liberals for your constraint. I am waiting for more of the same at the 2012 RNC Convention.

  • Ordinary Guy

    You can argue about how or how much the government needs to spend, more or less, but it must be paid. The number of taxpayers paying is determined, not by budget cycles, but by the purchases you make each and every day, large and small. Worse yet, individuals or businesses trying voluntarily to change this for the better will go broke trying. The same govenments that are in trouble have to make the rules that favor an even playing field. That is how it’s solved.

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