Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Your shutdown roundup

* Tuesday, the LCPFP met and waterboarded Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans and Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter. Objecting that terms like "fair" were partisan shots, chippy Republican legislators lambasted Frans and Schowalter for carrying "partisan water" for Dayton.

* Governor Dayton and GOP legislative leaders will meet Wednesday afternoon in their first meeting since the GOP's "counter-offer" of no new revenue, accept all of our policy provisions, and we'll act like we compromised. Expect GOP tweeters to be demanding concessions to match their generosity.

* Republican House Majority Leader Rep. Matt Dean is making the rounds to greater Minnesota newspapers. He gave interviews to the Grand Forks Herald and the St. Cloud Times on Tuesday.

* The immediate impact on higher education is currently blurry. Both MnSCU and the University of Minnesota rely on state funding for a significant portion of their budgets, but may be able to draw on reserves to avoid immediate closures. MnSCU's Board of Trustees meets in an emergency session tomorrow to discuss the impact of a shutdown. The U of M says that a shutdown will force them to halt construction projects, and that work on Central Corridor would halt immediately.

* MinnEcon (MPR) reports that northern Minnesota would suffer more in a shutdown than the metro area because it has proportionally more state workers. In a worst case scenario (where education workers are laid off) northern Minnesota could lose 5.6% of total wages.

* Road contractors are have been notified that without a budget resolution, they will have to cease work on July 1. This would force layoffs for thousands of private section construction workers at the peak of the season. Contractors are already planning to wind down projects so that they can be idled more effectively if a shutdown occurs.

* A Dayton-led agricultural trade mission to China scheduled for August has been indefinitely postponed due to funding uncertainty.

* Uncertainty about the impact of a shutdown includes questions about the impact on K-12 education. KVLY/KXJB (Fargo/Grand Forks) looks at the impact on local school districts. While the Minnesota Constitution guarantees students a right to an education, it also says that no money shall be spent without an appropriation. Shutting down the state parks before July 4th is bad enough; if the kids don't go back to school after Labor Day, then we'll really see a political crisis in Minnesota.

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