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Countdown to a government shutdown: Local DFL & GOP respond
Jun 23, 2011 | 22863 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

County party officials recently responded to the newspaper's request for comments on the gridlock between the GOP legislature and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

These responses, originally printed as letters to the editor in the June 23 Herald, are posted below

DFL response

By Chris Thorp, Carver County DFL Chair

If no resolution occurs before the shutdown, there are no winners. In fact, for a party focused on personal responsibility and responsible use of governmental resources, the GOP is doing a terrible job. Because a state budget must originate in the Legislature, the GOP majority is largely responsible for the looming shutdown.

It is a failure of personal responsibility because the GOP focused too much effort on unimportant issues while the budget crisis was looming large throughout the regular session. It is a misuse of governmental resources to play this game of fiscal brinkmanship because the government is already wasting enormous amounts of time, money, and productivity preparing for the impending shutdown.

Even if a budget is passed at the 11th hour, the cost of the threatened shutdown will still be immense and at a time when the state can least afford it.

The GOP majority is wasting everyone’s time and money to protect the top 2 percent of income earners in the state from a small additional amount of taxation. I don’t think anyone wins in a situation like this and I hope the governor can hold out for a reasonable compromise.

I realize the present discussion centers around state tax levels, however, the argument that higher taxation will somehow “kill” our economy, jobs, or motivation to run a business is refuted by the fact that the highest marginal U.S. federal tax rates have been much, much higher than they presently are and that other successful economies in the world also have much higher tax rates.

GOP response

By Paul Zunker, Carver County Republican Party Chair

This isn’t about shouting louder, it’s about more wasteful government spending, and the governor’s plan to just keep spending more and more, with no limits.

Our legislators are working overtime to make sure people know the truth, and really understand what’s happening. The governor says he wants a balanced approach to the $5 billion deficit, a mix of tax increases and cuts. But we don’t need to raise anyone’s taxes to meet the state’s needs for this budget. The Legislature’s plan is for the largest budget in state history. If we can afford that without raising taxes, then we should not raise taxes — which would be bad for the economy.

The governor’s message is misleading; he says we need to raise taxes but he won’t say what we need to raise them for, and he has created class warfare by saying taxing the rich will somehow help the middle class.

It’s frustrating that the legislators have been asking the governor to disclose what he wants to spend the new revenues on. He won’t say, and the mainstream media won’t hold him accountable. Our legislators have been right to insist that the Governor explain to Minnesotans what he wants this money for.

It is unfortunate that he would rather force a shutdown, with all the chaos and fear, rather than pass their reasonable budget. It would be better for Minnesota for him to agree to the Legislature’s budget or call a special session to avoid a shutdown.

I am very pleased that the three legislators from Carver County; Rep. Hoppe, Rep. Leidiger and Sen. Ortman, have been standing strong in their commitment to no new taxes.

As far as what I would like to see happen, I want to see Gov. Dayton present his budget proposal and explain where he wants to use the money and then I believe he should sign the budget that the Legislature has presented him with to avoid a shutdown.

I believe that the GOP has already compromised with Gov. Dayton and the Democrats but the DFL seems to keep saying that we have not. The DFL and the governor wanted a $36 billion dollar budget, the GOP wanted a $32 billion dollar one.

We are now at $34 billion dollars; that to me is meeting in the middle and is a compromise.

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