End Of Minn. Shutdown Brings Relief, Frustration

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s state government shutdown ended Wednesday after 20 days, millions in lost revenue and frustration on the part of residents and politicians.

The stoppage made the state a national example of political dysfunction, a small-scale mirror of the dispute in Washington over whether to raise the debt ceiling. But while federal lawmakers appeared close to a deal to slash spending, no such progress was made in Minnesota, where the budget was widely panned for just putting the problems off until later.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton pushed for months to raise taxes on the state’s richest residents to provide more money for social services, while Republicans adopted a “live within our means” motto. In the end, the state will spend more by delaying aid to schools and borrowing against future payments from a legal settlement with tobacco companies.

In contrast, the proposal being floated Wednesday in Washington would cut entitlement programs while raising some taxes. In both cases, members of both parties have bitter pills to swallow, but in Minnesota, there’s not even the satisfaction of having finally solved the problem.

Dayton said the budget was the best deal he could get given what he called Republican stubbornness.

“I signed it because otherwise Minnesota wouldn’t go back to work,” he said at a Capitol bill signing ceremony.

Republicans were equally unhappy, having voted to spend more than they wanted. They also gave up on proposals to ban funding for stem cell research and curb public employees’ bargaining rights, while agreeing to a $500 million construction financing package Dayton wanted for university buildings and flood projects.

“We did compromise with the governor in giving him more money, more money than a lot of Republicans wanted to spend, more money than I wanted to spend,” House Majority Leader Matt Dean said on Minnesota Public Radio.

The gears of government have started to turn again, with 22,000 laid-off state employees told to report to work Thursday to restart everything from lottery ticket sales to state historic sites.

The shutdown closed state parks and two state-regulated racetracks, suspended driver’s license exams and some services to the vulnerable and even threatened to prevent some bars from purchasing alcohol. Court rulings kept payments to schools, local governments and subsidized health care programs going, and as the shutdown ground on, a judge gave relief to some programs — including child care assistance — by ruling they were essential.

The state lost millions of dollars in the shutdown, including lost revenue from lottery sales, tax audits and state fees and concessions, plus money spent preparing to shut down and the cost of unemployment and health benefits for laid-off workers. The full cost wasn’t expected to be known for some time.

Republicans and Democrats have been at odds for years over how to address persistent state budget deficits, with GOP leaders pushing for deeper spending cuts and Democrats arguing for new taxes. This year, Dayton became the state’s first Democratic governor in 20 years, while Republicans took over both legislative chambers for the first time in 38 years. The two sides argued bitterly over taxes and spending for months before their failure to pass a budget by the start of the fiscal year sent the state into a shutdown.

Its end was welcome, no more so than by those who felt its effects directly.

Alice Smith, 52, of St. Paul, who processes GEDs and transcripts at the Department of Education, said this was the hardest layoff of the three she’s experienced and it’s going to be hard catching up — both financially and with her workload.

“We’re not going to get any back pay,” she said. “It’s all going to be a struggle for a full month until we get a full paycheck.”

She helps support an adult daughter with disabilities and other relatives. During the shutdown, Smith said she went to a food bank when she needed help with groceries, but the shelves there were bare.

At the Canterbury Park track horse track in Shakopee, President and CEO Randy Sampson was glad to call back about 1,000 employees.

“Obviously their lives were turned upside down,” he said, adding that the shutdown cost horse owners and jockeys more than $1 million in purses. And Sampson said he found it “beyond frustrating” that the courts did not let Canterbury reopen even though it had already paid regulators enough in fees to keep them working.

“I can’t say I’m jumping for joy because the whole thing has been such a painful and unnecessary situation,” Sampson said.

“I’m relieved that it’s over but I don’t really see what it was all about,” said Susan Lommen, 60, of Deerwood, whose husband, Guy, was laid off from his state job as a state lottery sales representative. “It seems like we’re right back where we started from, because there’s no resolution.”

How Much Did The Shutdown Cost Minnesota?

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

  • http://www.residualforces.com/2011/07/20/dayton-spendathon-postponed-indefinitely/ Residual Forces » Blog Archive » Dayton Spendathon Postponed Indefinitely

    […] Mark Dayton shut down Minnesota state government because he thought it was too dangerous to let Minnesotans experience their budget. After 2 weeks and either because beer was getting pulled off the shelves or his public union supporters were about to stop getting pay checks, he blinked and compromised. […]

  • bob

    Quit your whining already!

  • http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/07/20/all-nighter-at-the-state-capitol/ All-Nighter At The State Capitol « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO: Politics] Share this article No comments // […]

  • ItsTheSpendingStupid

    Teabaggers? Must be must be how Morons spell Tea Party. And why do people that use that term always drool and make that ‘DUHRrr” sound? – kind of bugs me…..

    • Boyd

      That’s what happens when you consider late night HBO “News”

  • Jon

    Ha, thanks for the good laugh.

    • Redneck Purist

      Any time my friend, tip your servers, I’m here all week.

      • Stars and stripes forever

        Ahhh, Redneck Purist is a struggling waiter whom Tom Emmers says makes more in tips than the average employee. I bet you have your money stockpiled in South Dakota, or better yet in a swiss bank account where it cannot be touched. By the way, I usually tip 20 per cent knowing that the majority of wait people work hard at providing a service. I may not respect your opinions, but I respect the hard work you do as a waiter.

        • Redneck Purist

          Thanks, I appreciate that. Are you the guy that brings a calculator and sits in the corner wearing a hockey helmet? Come in after the next election and have a big slice of humble pie.

          • P SMITH

            redneck puist you deserve the 2 cent tip

          • Darby

            If the vote swings left what are you going to do? Apologize on a board for poor thinking?

            • Redneck Purist

              Given the president’s record on the economy, unemployment, his new unauthorized war, his deficit and bank busting budget, I’m not terribly worried about the electorate swinging left, are you? What’s his campaign slogan gonna be? “Do you want four more years of what I’ve done so far?” I think you’d better come to terms with Obama losing, and losing big. Start dealing with it now so the humble pie will go down a little easier.

              • Citizen

                You assume that Obama will not have another Democrat challenge him for the nomination. If he keeps up his dismal track record, the Dems may just jettison him, too! I can think of several prominent Democrats who would be better choices and better candidates.

                • Jim

                  Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Obama is the Democratic nominee. And who would be a better candidate? People can argue that he hasn’t been a good president, but no one can deny that he’s a great campaigner.

                • The Architect

                  When was the last time a President failed to get his party’s nomination to run for a 2nd term?

              • Jim

                I get that people are fed up with the government, but who’s going to beat Obama? Bachmann? Ha ha. George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor? No. I’m not necessarily looking forward to 4 more years of Obama, but I wouldn’t bet against him at this point.

                • shrugged

                  The repugs have nothin’ other than 2 independents in disguise (Paul and Huntsman–they are the only ones talkin’ my language). I suppose you can add the pizza tosser but…anyway. It’s ugly. Just a bunch of bible thumpin’ nut-jobs. The ones that aren’t bangin’ their bibles and signin’ pledges don’t even have a chance so no mention needed.

              • The Architect

                What unauthorized war?


    give me liberty, All I can say to that is AMEN!

  • Boyd

    They took out the VOTER FRAUD language from these “agreements”

    Contact you representative now!!!

    • Grandma

      It only makes sense to me (COMMON SENSE?) to have to show a picture ID when voting for anything… not that the address would be right..? Don’t see that it would be a problem. Have to show one for a multitude of other things – right?

    • Paul Solinger

      If you can prove to me that voter fraud is a widespread problem, then I might care. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less.

      • John

        Whats your problem with checking? Trust but verify is a prudent parctice.

      • See BS

        Our Judicial Branch is engaged in Vote Fraud right now. According to the Minnesota State Constitution, the Judicial Branch is not allowed to act in behalf of the Legislative Branch.

        The Judicial Branch is re-districting our State — Article 3 in the MN Constitution specifically says that is illegal.

        • Tom

          @ BS

          It was your GOP / Tea Party people that took their case to the State Supreme Court to begin with.

          • See BS

            Our Judicial Branch is the source of election fraud in the State of Minnesota.

            • Boyd

              What could possibly be wrong with asking people for some form of ID when voting?

              We ask for ID when buying cold remedies, beer and to pick up welfare checks

              • Scott

                I, for the most part, feel exactly the same. It was recently that a friend of mine who was originally from Iowa, and had been in MN for over 4 years tried to renew their license and ended up going through two months of bureaucratic madness. She’s smart and had the resources to get it dealt with, but it gave me a different perspective on the idea of requiring an ID.

            • ItsTheSpendingStupid

              MN 2008 VOTER FRAUD stats:
              2812 DEAD Voters
              800 Convicted FELONS
              47 FRAUD cases (voting for someone else

              And these are the one they know about
              Proof enough for me…..Voter ID is only common sense.

              • Alex V

                Those are registered voter stats, not stats of people who actually voted. What we need is a a better computer system to kick out those registrations, not a voter ID requirement. In 2008, there were slightly more than 100 cases of people voting illegally, and almost all of them were felons who were out of jail but not off paper and didn’t know they weren’t allowed to vote. This is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed, but even if there had been an ID requirement, it wouldn’t have stopped any of these people from voting as one’s criminal history isn’t on an ID. The only potential problem that an ID requirement could address is impersonating another voter. However, we would know if this was a problem because people would get to their polling place and find that someone has already signed in for them. You can’t find a single case of this happening in the last 2 elections. The fact is that an ID requirement would stop many more people from voting legally than from voting illegally. That alone makes it wrong.

                • Grandma

                  Why can’t we set up voter registration/voting on line? Electronically – like we can do our taxes now? A person would get a ‘pin number’, web site link, and be able to vote? This would also make it easier for handicapped persons, persons in a nursing home, people on vacation, whatever… It would also save gas – and paper – and possibly people to count it all…? Whoops.. forget the number of people – there’s already way too much unemployment! Voting on line makes sense to me these days. What about you? All we need is a good computer program – that works.

              • See BS

                You can also make a laundry list of Minnesota Statutes completely dismissed by our Court System and the Minnesota Supreme Court. Rulings that always seem to favor the Democrats.

      • Tom

        @ Paul Solinger

        There was no wide spread voter fraud! It only existed in the conservatives mind! They were not happy that the rest of us wouldn’t give them complete control of things. And besides the State Supreme Court didn’t find any wide spread voter fraud either.

        • Really?

          You’re actually admitting to voting for Frankenstein? WOW! You must be so proud. How old are you?

        • See BS

          Is that why Ramsey County Attorney’s refuse to prosecute felons who voted in the last election?

          How about all the convictions involving ACORN Workers? A St Louis Park man got arrested with 300 fake voter registration cards in the trunk of his car at MSP.

          There is a paper trail of vote fraud in the State of Minnesota based on public court records.

        • Redneck Purist

          If there’s no liberal fraud, then why is it that only liberals seem to be freaking out over showing proof at the polls???? I don’t know one conservative who’s worried about E-verify, or voter ID bills. I think liberals must know that they’ll lose votes if people have to prove their eligibility. That’s the only explanation for their fear of it.

      • Robert Radke

        RIGHT ON!!



    • John

      Bring it on Im for it

    • Stars and stripes forever

      Kevin, there was no voter fraud. It was the photo ID issue taken out. As a 20 veteran election judge I can tell you that this has never been a problem. There are many ways of assuring that the person is in the voting district than requiring photo ID. I am glad the GOP took it out of the budget.

      • people are nuts

        You mean real people actually voted for Al Franken?

        • Really?

          Dead people did. The rest are too embarrassed to admit it as well they should be. Brain dead people are scary!!!

  • Mitchel

    Voter fraud isn’t an issue, they find trunks of votes everywhere, here, Wisconsin, Florida. Wow, that’s a weird trend. The trunk full of votes always get a liberal elected.

    • P SMITH

      I seem to remember the problem in Wi got all republicans elected and in Fl wasen’t it a Bush that won by dishonest voters and another republicans so please don’t say it’s ONLY the democrates !

      • DFL Reasoning

        That’s what you call selective memory. You’ld be for voter ID in WI and FL, but as long as the DFL wins in MN…you’re against it here? At least you’re DFLer reasoning is consistantly inconsistant! You turn your blind eye to voter fraud in MN but point it out in other states? If you’re not against voter fraud in MN you don’t have the RIGHT to comment about it in other states!

        Voter fraud needs to be eliminated in all states period…you’re either for it or against it. That is…unless…you’re a DFLer!

    • Stars and stripes forever

      Same goes for getting a GOP elected. You know in the old days, 1800’s there use to be fistfights that would break out between the two parties. Now days the bar fistfights have taken to the keyboard. Amazing how times have changed, but everything is the same. I guess there is nothing new under the sun.

    • Paul Solinger

      Really, Mitchel? Is that going to be your excuse every time you lose an election now. “It was voter fraud”. It will go along great with your other patented excuse, “It was the liberal media”. Boy, the party of personal responsibility sure likes to make a lot of excuses.

      • Mitchel


        Can you give me once instance where a trunk load of votes after the initial count was found to be in favor of the GOP? And they are found in places with more people than are registered to vote. Probably just me being an ignorant Conservative but tie goes to the dems.

  • Freddie Freeman

    Look at it this way. The Left got their way nationally with that ridiculous thing called Obamacare and now the Right got some justice.

    • The Architect

      What justice, exactly?

  • Common Man

    … Dayton said the budget “gets Minnesota back to work.”…
    See, people like Dayton and followers seem to think all of Minnesota was shut down and nobody worked. This is the “Government has do do everything for you ” mind set that is causing thi country to fall apart.

    • frozenrunner

      Can you find me someone who said government has to do everything for you? I don’t think you can. More made up statements from the righties on this board. The party of personal responsibility has no problem with untruths.

  • gdog

    Too bad the shut down is over so soon. I was enjoying the lighter traffic in the morning. Oh well, now when you need to call the government for something, instead of getting the message that “we’re closed”, you’ll just get passed around and put on hold until you give up and hang up. So glad they’re back to work.

  • kevin

    STARSAND STRIPES, were you in a precint where the vouching system was used.How can you believe tha a person comes in with ten fifteen or maybe twenty people and vouches that they are all citizens when they have no ID’S. No ID’S no voting.If these people can all afford smart phones, computers and all the expensive electronics with high monthly fees attached to them then they can also afford the cost of a state issued ID.

    • Citizen

      Paying for a state-issued ID is the responsibility of the state of Minnesota. Charging a citizen for an ID is an ILLEGAL POLL TAX forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. We’ve been over this and over this, kevin. Sorry that the ACTUAL LAW once again violates your GOP delusions.

      • The Architect

        Only if that were the only reason they were given for having to have a valid ID at all times, but it isn’t.

        This is very separate from what people are claiming is a poll tax.

        • Citizen

          @The Architect. No, a mandated voter ID is the same as a poll tax. If a driver’s license can be used, that works because most people do have driver’s licenses, but there are a lot of people who do not. A picture ID is used to register to vote, so there is no need for a picture ID on the day of voting if the person is already on the list of registered voters. If someone isn’t on the list of registered voters, they can register using a picture ID and college students can use a student ID to register and vote where they are attending school. The difference is in being a registered voter right now. The picture ID laws want someone to show a picture ID to vote EVEN AFTER they’ve registered. So elderly people would be forced to have a picture ID and that would have to be paid for by the state. The same for students. Plus, the address on that picture ID would have to match the address where the person is living. If there is no match, the person cannot vote. You are a smart guy, so I know you can analyze all the problems that will arise from this. Plus, there will have to be election judge training for all present judges, perhaps new equipment, and recounts will not only be a recount of the ballots but also of the picture IDs matching with the voters. It will be a nightmare which cost is projected to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Plus, there are court challenges all over the place in the states where these laws have been passed. The amount of voter fraud is so small as to be insignificant and not merit these draconian, expensive measures. Voting just needs to be as fair and accurate as possible–but nothing, repeat nothing and no process is PERFECT!

          • The Architect

            Are we not required to have valid identification when in public?

            I do agree that if the ID is ONLY required for the purpose of voter identification that it would qualify as you have stated as a poll tax type expense.

            I’m merely asking if we are not already supposed to have an ID to be out and about.

  • kevin

    STARSAND STRIPES, were you in a precint where the vouching system was used.How can you believe that a person comes in with ten fifteen or maybe twenty people and vouches that they are all citizens when they have no ID’S. No ID’S no voting.If these people can all afford smart phones, computers and all the expensive electronics with high monthly fees attached to them then they can also afford the cost of a state issued ID.

  • Middle of the road

    nock it off, we all just lost. Most spending, higher taxes and we got nothiing more out of this deal, none of us. OUR legislators are still out of touch and out of control. 38 years of far left policy has lead us to a state where we will have to become a socialist society to deal with all the burdens placed on us by this and past legislatures. Will the left give up their property first to support this utopia that has been created, or will they “take from the rich till there are no rich no more”, and then the middle class and lastly themselves? and you two are having a slug fest in a blog is pathetic at best.

    • th

      Poor rich people. If they would pay their fair share of taxes in the first place instead of finding all kinds of loop holes we wouldn’t be in this mess. As for them being job creators, nonsense. They are just padding their own pockets on the backs of the middle class and poor. When they were paying their fair share the state of MN was doing great. High employment, etc.

  • Darren

    I wonder why this wasn’t covered live on WCCO as it was such a big event for our state. Its all they have been talking about in the press. I mean how many Reality Checks have we had to endure about the shutdown, and then WCCO didnt’ even carry the signing by Dayton. But yet WCCO will interupt any other tv programming if there is a tornado in Roseau or Marshall. I don’t get their priorities.

    For the government workers getting their jobs back, congratulations, now please be thankful for your jobs and treat us,the taxpayer who pays your salary with respect. Work hard and show respec.

    Thank You, A Taxpaying Minnesotan.

    • state worker

      I will do my part, but can say much for the old way of thinking or should i say union way of thinking

      • state worker

        i mean can’t

    • Libby

      Respectfully, Darren: (1) Our state employees are also taxpayers; they pay as much of their salary in taxes as you do (2) Most of them, with no encouragement from you, are already very thankful for their jobs (3) The majority treat all their customers with a lot more respect than they’ve received lately, (4) Many are professionals, being paid less than they could make in the private sector. They don’t owe you gratitude; just service, and (5) With unemployment, they may get 1 week of salary out of a 3-week shutdown. I understand your frustration, but the “wronged-taxpayer” routine gets old. Thank you for listening.

  • djp

    I noticed they commented on out of work people still getting medical benefits??? I sure wish I did when I was laid off. COBRA is way too expensive for the normal person.
    Also…here is money poorly spent: “The full cost wasn’t expected to be known for some time because the workers who could calculate it weren’t on the job.”
    I still hope we can replace all of these politicians when the time comes..obviously none of them really did their jobs! When I hear no Democrat is going to vote yes on the budget it makes me mad. Come on people…compromise is the name of the game..not whining because you don’t get what you want!!

    • th

      The republicans were the ones who said no to everything that was brought forward by the Dems.

      Their no taxes whatsoever mantra has got to stop.

      • thewho

        Wow, you must be one of those who stands in line expecting a freebie!!!

    • P SMITH

      djp would you vote for a bill that takes money from schools ? and the tobacco settlement money was to be used for health issues not to be sold to the highest bidder and we don’t know what we will actually get for these bonds ! so the Democrates were right to vote NO!


        Would you rather the state government be still shutdown? Your reply suggests YES!!! You blame the GOP for the shutdown, but you can’t see the stupidity in your comments proving the DFL clearly preferred the shutdown to continue if they still vote NO on the budget.


        Too bad Pat Kessler doesn’t reality check the DFL on that FACT!

  • John

    Hope they budgeted for extra expense of road construction. Many of the subcontractors packed up and took there equipment and employees to paying jobs elsewhere. The contractors are left with a contract and a deadline with both penalties and bonuses for completion.

    Should be a great winter with incomplet projects.

  • waste

    Well Said.

  • Jason Kieffer

    its about farking time

  • JOHN

    welcome to the new moscow and the new detroit its called the state of minnesota

  • Dayton Rules

    To those who were affected by this shut down…Remember DAYTON…

    The people of Minnesota will not forget why this shutdown happened:
    * DAYTON could have worked out this deal months ago.
    * DAYTON could have signed a temporary spending bill to keep the government running.
    * DAYTON could have agreed a week, two weeks ago to this deal.

    DAYTON and the Democrats in this state are the only reason this shut down happened.

    You can try to blame the legislature, but it is on record, that they stayed until midnight the day before the shutdown to work to keep the government going, and DAYTON wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

    Way to go DAYTON. Way to lead a state.

    • frozenrunner

      You have a very narrow way of looking at things. The Republicans could have sent a budget to the governor in time for there to be negotiations. He presented the administration’s budget in February. GOP shut out the Democrats in the legislature and did not pass a bill in time for there to be discussion in the regular session. The lights on bill as proposed by the GOP had both social agendas and a spending cut in them. Why couldn’t they offered a simple bill continuing at the current spending?. Lastly you have no proof where the offers were two weeks ago.. Both sides could have done better. You can continue to keep your red blinders on.

    • The Architect

      No social engineering can be included in the budget.
      No religious BS can be included in the budget.
      The republicans knew it couldn’t and wouldn’t be signed as they submitted it, becasue it was inane to begin with, and they knew it.

    • th

      Dayton is not the problem. Your wonderful Republicans with their our way or no way mantra did it.

      There isn’t anything that you do in a day that does not cost the state to run. So suck it up and pay for what you want to do. Driving on roads, etc.

    • Chris

      What frustrates me is that this could have been easily avoided. Do to this fact, the state has lost millions becouse of one man.
      Make Dayton pay it back.

      • WE

        If you own a home . Your TAXS just went upppppppp.THANKS REPUGS.

        • Clueless WE

          Typical DFL BS. Property taxes are raised by the state government?

          Take your blame to the people responsible…your Local Government! If they aren’t willing to make cuts…and you support them…then YOU SHOULD pay more! Why should people in another part of the state pay for the things you aren’t willing to give up? Why should people in another part of the state who don’t benefit from the things provided by your Local Government…pay for them?

          ENOUGH with blaming the state government for your higher PROPERTY TAXES RAISED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS!!!

          And by the way…YOU’RE WELCOME @WE

          • WE

            It starts at the top stupid.

            • Clueless WE

              It starts with voters wanting everyone else to pay for their wants!

              It starts with local governments wanting state governments to get people from other parts of the state to fund their local government wants…it continues with state governments wanting the federal government to get people from other states to pay for their state government wants.

              When state governments don’t get what they want…the people of that state pay for it! When the local governments don’t get what they want…the people of that local government pay for it!

              “It starts at the top stupid?” The top makes cuts and the bottom says NO? What do you consider to be the TOP? State government…federal government…local government…YOU THE VOTER?


      • Ruth

        Not only Dayton, but ALL the politicians in St. Paul should pay back the millions lost in revenue and salaries for the state employees who did NOT want to be laid off. Dayton and the politicians are the ONLY ones who should not have received a paycheck for their inability to balance the budget. The same can be said for the President and politicians in Washington, DC.

  • Brenda

    I am in SHOCK! In the HHS bill everybody talks about shared cuts/pain yet the chiropractic benefit for medicaid was doubled from 12 to 24???? Even more concerning is that the author of the bill Aebeler is a chiropractor. Is there no ethics….

    • In Doubt

      Does anyone know how to find this?

  • In Doubt

    I saw it somewhere in the comments here but now I can’t find it. Was chiropractic really doubled in the HSS bill that was written by a chiropractor. I didn’t even know we had a chiropractor in the Senate.

  • kevin

    Citizen, so what your saying is that there’s no fix for voter fraud and we must live with the status quo.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live