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Tuesday Talk: Who will a Minnesota shutdown hurt?

April 12, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Friday’s last minute compromise narrowly averted a federal government shutdown. Minnesota now finds itself in a similar position. With the conservative legislative majority insisting on a cuts only approach to balancing our budget, the state is in jeopardy of a shutdown.

Who will a Minnesota shutdown hurt?  

What can Minnesota policymakers learn from federal leaders?  

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • John Crampton says:

    April 12, 2011 at 8:21 am

    It certainly won’t hurt the 1% ers.  They are the sacred cows of our society…. can’t do anything to hurt or even inconvenience them.  And we certainly can’t expect them to pay the same tax rate as the middle class, can we?  Why that would be “class warfare” (which they have been waging without interruption since the days of Ronnie Reagan.) 

    I think we should not only raise taxes on the top 1 or 2%, but I think we should go after them to pay back all the tax breaks they have received since 1999 in MN and since the Bush tax cut (federal) since 2001.  If they can whack my SS and Medicare ex post facto, then let’s say, “We’re sorry, but we are going to have to put a surcharge on all the taxes you should have paid.”  At the same time, let’s pass single-payer, universal health so we can quit subsidizing the vicious and despicable private healthcare insurance companies.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    April 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Joe, it seems your rhetoric again fails to see the will of Minnesotans over your arrogant zeal. These Republicans were elected to the majority because of your sides insistance on a tax and spend policys. I am willing to bet they will get their way and you and your “White Collar” public employee’s will get almost nothing this round. The only question left is how many of your blood sucking leaches will be gone when the cutting is done. I suspect no where near enough to relieve our burden. As for fair taxes, you scum had your chance to fix our screwed up state tax system and you failed. I expect nothing to be done on that account by these self serving Republican scum either.

  • Everett Flynn says:

    April 12, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Who will it hurt?  Everyone.  Absolutely everyone in this state.  Nearly all of us would likely be touched personally by a budget shutdown.  But worse than that, we will all be diminished if this arrogant game of political Russian Roulette, currently being waged by Republicans and their one-dimensional and extremist proposal to resolve Pawlenty’s budget deficit through cuts and cuts alone, results in establishing a precedent in Minnesota politics that it’s ok for our leaders, who are supposed to come together and find ways forward, to posture and refuse to consider options through the 11th hour and to bring state government to a halt.  That is not leadership, it is utter political inertia and a dereliction of their duty to the people of this state.  Intractable positions do not flatter politicians; they only identify them as zealots.

  • Anita Stech says:

    April 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

    So often this budget discussion is phrased in “home budget” terms (sitting around the kitchen table discussing cutting things with the family—in whose world is this????)

    Well, if we are going to continue this simplification of government budgets, I guess I add this:

    If our family is hitting hard times, wouldn’t we consider not only cutting but maybe looking for a new part time job, or selling an item of value that we no longer need? 

    In other words, how can you just consider cutting spending as a way out?  The well rounded discussion MUST include raising revenues and that includes raising taxes. 

    And let’s throw in some discussion of the value of government services.  I like that someone fixes the streets and water mains, sends me a tax refund, teaches kids, opens the library for community meetings, etc.  These services have tremendous worth, and the people who provide them are not demons.

    This takes a compromise—cutting spending with increasing revenues.  And I hope we have legislators big and brave enough to “get to yes”.  We don’t need shut down drama—we need people who want to restore MN to its Miracle (and I’m not talking about the hockey type…)

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    April 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Wasting your time whining about losing the “more taxes” battle again will get you nowhere. The positive action is figuring out how your going to replace those funds within the existing framework. For those of you short on political understanding I suggest Ben Franklin’s autobiography. His creative political action is still valid today. You have choices, whine and be part of the problem, or think and act to be part of the solution.

  • Mike Downing says:

    April 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

    This must be a trick question.

    A MN shutdown will not hurt me; it will not hurt my wife; it will not hurt my son and it will not hurt my daughter.

    In fact, it would help our grandchildren since they could find jobs in MN when they graduate from college (probably not a MN college) in 15-20 years from now.

    Just like a drug addict that needs to stop taking drugs and an alcoholic needs to stop drinking, our spending addicts need to dramatically curtail their spending on the home front and in our legislature & governor’s office.

  • Cathy says:

    April 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

    We have gone downhill in Minnesota since Gov. Ventura. 12 years of cutting spending AND cutting taxes on the wealthy and big corporations. Look what happened. Now they want to continue on the same path. Tax cuts cancel out spending cuts. I would like to see the research that shows tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations really creates jobs. Oh, I forgot about all the jobs that were created in India and China by the same recipients of the tax cuts. Wake up Minnesota and the nation.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    April 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Who will be hurt?  Absolutely everyone, even the 1-2% of the population that “earns” almost all the income in our state and country.

    This financial elite, aided by confederates in Congress, have succeeded not just in allocating almost all income to themselves but most of the tax burden to those less able to pay.

    The Constitution says that government must “provide for the general welfare.” That means infrastructure, education, transit, public amenities like parks and playgrounds, and all the other things that have traditionally made our towns and cities and farms great places to live.  And how did we get those things? We knew that revenue, raised fairly, paid for all these things and therefore made life better for everyone, rich and poor and in between.

    We must raise revenue by taxing the wealthy or just watch Minnesota and all of America fall apart.  Except, of course, for the Few.

    How can we learn from Washington? Only by listening to Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich and those others who understand fully their obligation to serve the COMMON good, not just the Koch Brothers and their ilk.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    April 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Bernice, you really need to read Ben Franklin’s autobiography to understand how we did things in this country before you backward socialists crawled out of the woodwork last century. I am sure glad you will never be in a position to ever interpret our constitution for us.

  • Patti Flekke says:

    April 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I’m sorry, but I’m getting tired of folks claiming that our country is becoming Socialist.  Here is a definition for you:

    1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

    2: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

    This is hardly how the United States of America run - exibit: Fortune 500, or 100 or DOW or… pick your entrepreneur or industrialist. 

    We as a country, collectively care about the elderly - your parents, my parents, and eventually you and me.  We care about those that are unemployed - me at the moment.  It is government’s job to “care for the welfare of it’s population”.

    Why is it that the wealthy seem to live in another realm and cannot see the forrest for the trees?

    Don’t confuse socialism and Communism - I’ll give you that definition in case you need it: a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property” - both quotes are from Merriam-Websters Learner’s Dictionary, in case you need it.

  • Patti Flekke says:

    April 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Plese keep down the name-calling - “Bill” calls anyone who might disagree with him as “scum”.  I resent that and wish for a critial thought process in discussion of any subject - that means one based on fact.

  • S Johnson says:

    April 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    This is about the wealthy retaining money…it’s about greed.

    We are likely witnessing the one of the biggest changes in our nation’s history. Since 2002 we have seen the assets of the upper class increase by 400% while the middle class assets have decrease by 13%. The income, last year, of the accumulative top 57 individuals equals the bottom 20%. Think about that: 57 people would fit into any Perkins restaurant and the 20% would NOT fit into all the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL stadiums.

    We are cutting benefits of lower and middleclass while cutting taxes of the wealthy.

    I think we are witnessing the biggest transfer of wealth from the middleclass to the wealthy in our history.

  • Bernie bauhof says:

    April 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    This biennium, Minnesota’s general fund budget is scheduled to spend $30.7 billion Can we afford an increase in spending of this magnitude? Taxing the “rich” although a very popular concept with left wing ideologues will not generate nearly enough revenue to satisfy this type of spending. This state, like the federal government, is going broke. A proposed tax increase bill will not survive the house and senate. Instead of focusing on increasing taxes the Governor should focus on increasing the number of taxpayers. It’s time for the Governor to examine this 26.5% increase in spending against the projected 5% increase in revenue, drop the nice to haves, and focus on the have to haves. Time to draw a line in the sand. The tax and spend days are over.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    April 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Sadly Patti your definition only goes part way. First Marx was an impatient Socialist, unwilling to accept slow and gradual change in addapting the socialist agenda. All Communist countries address themselves as socialist. Your definition of socialism is very incomplete. Socialism is top down rule by an educated elite, (i.e. the middle class). That is exactly the gradual proggresion we have seen since public employee unionazation in 1964. Almost every local public input forum has now been eliminated or negated by this central control model of mandates from the Feds. Socialism as a governance system was concieved long before our republic. Our founding fathers rejected socialism and its many manifistations for our Constitutional Republic. Read the Fereralist papers, there is no socialism written into our constitution nor is their a right for public employees to unionize. In fact our founding fathers were very adament that public employees never be able to use their inside information against the public they serve. This is exactly what the “White Collar” elements of the public employees Unions are doing now. Yes your teacher feminist core is adamently and radically socialist which is undermining our childrens education.

  • Rachel says:

    April 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Tune in now to catch John Van Hecke on AM 950 Radio ... call in with your comments!

  • Ginny says:

    April 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    When you don’t have the facts, reason, logic, or common sense on your side, you just lob a few nasty names when you disagree with anyone.
    Don’t take any of that personally from these people; they are bereft.

  • Mike Downing says:

    April 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm


    Since when have liberal progressives used facts rather than their emotions?

  • Mike Downing says:

    April 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    S. Johnson:

    You are partially correct in your closing statement: “I think we are witnessing the biggest transfer of wealth from the
    middleclass to the wealthy in our history.”

    We are actually seeing the greatest transfer of wealth in our history but it is actually from the US to China since they are buying our debt and will own us in 10-20 short years.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    April 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Mr. Hamm:

    You are equating what is called Democratic Socialism—like that established in Europe after WW II with the guidance of General George Marshall—with pure socialism.

    Pure socialism would have the state owning everything, with every person in the country in the employ of the state.

    Democratic socialism uses capitalism as it is intended to be used—to create wealth for the society that supports and fosters it.  Those enterprises that are best provided by for-profit enterprises are left to grow, with the state making sure they have educated, healthy employees and the appropriate infrastructure.

    In return, a democratic socialist state uses progressive taxation to raise revenue with which to provide those services that should not be asked to provide a profit. That only makes them more expensive; too expensive for many.

    Public education, health care, care for the elderly and disabled, infrastructure (roads, bridges, transit), all are less expensive when we all share in the expense of providing them.

    There is nothing “evil” about this kind of socialism.  In fact, it helps capitalists succeed.  Pure capitalism, on the other hand, concentrates wealth and power at the top and tells those who are unable to provide for themselves to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    Ah, if they only had boots.

  • J Johnson says:

    April 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Shuting down the government be it state or national is a costly mistake. Anyone who has lived in Minnesota for the past twelve years should clearly understand that cuts only will not balance the budget.  The budget deficit was created during those years without “tax” increases, with only cuts applied to fix the problem, this led to the continuing the rise in property taxes and fees, which in turn has contributed to the increasing number of home foreclosures. It is unrealistic to think that anyone in business including the State of Minnesota does not experience rising costs.  Individual citizens certainly do, and while we must adjust our budget to try to accomodate rising costs, we are forced to spend more when the increased cost of necessities is out of our control. I would also like to remind those who believe that the Democrats failed to provide solutions when they held the majority, the heavy veto pen of Pawlenty struck often.  He boasts about his excessive use of the veto pen during his speeches as if it is something to be proud of. He certainly will not be remembered for reaching across the isle. Mark Dayton will also have to veto much of what is passed, it all seems to focus on Republican ideological plans that cut the legs out from under those who need it the most. Instead of working to improve what is currently in place for Minnesotans, the goal is to drive middle and low income citizens out of the state.

  • Mary Ann says:

    April 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    State Employees will get hurt the most.  The Republicans are looking for anyway to drag us through the mud and hurt us in anyway we can and we are not the enemy.  We pay taxes too!

  • Ginny says:

    April 13, 2011 at 8:01 am

    State employees will get hurt—and so will all of those they serve. Every day.

  • Ellen C says:

    May 17, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Why compromise?  Over the past several years, our “compromising” (on both federal and state level) have moved us steadily to the right.  We can reach a balanced budget, 1) by cutting spending on tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthiest and most profitable corporations and 2) restoring funding lost by “compromise” for education, health care, infrastructure, public safety, a health environment and community and the arts.  Strong well educated Minnesotans, working together can bring our budget back into balance.