Sunday, June 12, 2011

Minnesota Budget Impasse?

The current state of the budget discussion relates to these four levels of spending:
$30.7 billion  Last year's budget
$34 billion    Republican budget offer, a $4 billion increase,
               matching the amount of revenue currently available
$37 billion    Governor Dayton has made a proposal to come down to this level from
$39 billion    Dayton's starting position, which is a 22% increase in spending

The 2011 Education and Courts budgets have already matched Governor Dayton's requests.

The 2011 Legislature finished their work on the budget and had the legally required balanced budget on Mark Dayton's desk on the required date, May 23, which he promptly vetoed.

Contrast that with results in 2009
"The 2009 Legislative Session ended in May with the job only partially done. Legislators and the Governor spent the session attempting to negotiate a solution to a $4.6 billion state budget deficit for the FY 2010-11 biennium. As the legislature reached the constitutionally prescribed adjournment date on May 18, a $2.7 billion deficit still remained. After the session concluded with no negotiated agreement, the Governor exerted his authority to unilaterally “unallot” spending to resolve the remaining deficit and bring the budget into balance."

In the 2009 Legislature, the final results on education had been
"The governor {Tim Pawlenty] proposed a small increase to K-12 education funding, the [Democratic] House held its K-12 budget at current levels and the Senate reduced K-12 spending by 3.2 percent."   
So legislative concern for education "cuts" was not present in the budget process in 2009.
How are Governor Dayton's Commissioners working with the legislature to try to resolve the issue? 

Sen. David Hann Sets Record Straight On GOP Balanced Budget Compromis. In speaking to Commissioner Franz, a representative of Gov Dayton (partial transcript)

I understand you have a political duty to represent the Governor...However I do not think it is fair or accurate to say that our budget raises, whatever amount of money you say we raise in property taxes, unless you can show us what page of our budget has those tax increases on it that is not an accurate or truthful statement. Now you testified the other day that in you in your analysis you believe that using some kind of dynamic figuring that you can say that when we do certain things at the state level then  local jurisdictions are going to decide on their own to raise taxes. Although in your chart here it shows Property taxes have gone up every year since 1995, and I don't think Republican budgets have been passed in the State of Minnesota every year since 1995. So there's clearly something else going on that's causing property taxes to go up, rather than Republican budgets.  And so what we are trying to get at here is the effect of the taxes that are being proposed by the Governor at the state level vs a budget that doesn't propose any taxes at the state level
I understand the political rhetoric to describe things in a certain way, but it is not truthful if you look at what the budget that we passed actually does!

Governor Dayton's May 16th budget "proposal" contained a statement that said he was going have $1.8 billion in cuts.  As of June 7 the Governor has no plan.
June 7 2011 Sen. Parry: asks "Where, are you going to make the cuts, in Nursing homes like the Governor originally wanted, by 2.5%, are you going to cut the veteran's?  What are you going to cut, how can we start to even work with you if do not tell us where you are going to take the cuts"?  Dayton's Commissioner (Schowalter) responded "I cannot give your details for a proposals that do not exist". 
Commissioner: Details for Governor Dayton's Budget "Proposal" Do Not Exist

What do some other Democrats from the legislature have to say about the legislature proposed budget?
Sen Thomas Bakk, minority leader
Last biennium this senate spent $30 billion dollars and some change, this next one we are going to spend $34 billion, $4 billion dollars more.  Just want to remind people that on the campaign trail said they were going to come here and cut spending, this budget under these targets is going to spend $4 billion more than the previous one.
Even Democrats Know We've Already Compromised

Even Democrats Know This Isn't An "All Cuts Budget"

Senator Ted Lillie made an excellent summary of the budget discussion issues at Thursday's (June 9) OBPA Eggs N' Issues.  He is one of the six legislators in negotiation with the Governor.  He feels that it is going very well.  Emphasizing that "it has been assertive and direct, but not been confrontational to the point of tearing apart ... we are working hard to find a solution that meets the needs of people and businesses in Minnesota."
"We have tried to meet in the middle with half of the budget coming up to that level, but the Governor is not ready to do that yet. Facts' are stubborn and this budget is the largest budget in the history of Minnesota.  We feel its a reasonable budget, its a reasonable offer, and it one that we can accept as a State.  And it would be a shame if the Governor would choose to take us to a shutdown over a tax increase that just penalizes the wealthy vs trying to serve all of us."

 The ball was and is entirely in Mark Dayton's court for negotiation, when he made the unprecedented decision to go to a 3rd party mediator.  A decision he then reversed, thankfully.  The legislature budget is halfway between last years budget and Dayton's sky high budget.  The legislature budget matches the current revenue projection, while not raising taxes and meeting all real needs.  So why is there still a threat of government shutdown?

Is Governor Dayton trying to negotiate in good faith, or is another agenda playing out?  An agenda that is not an attempt to do what's best for Minnesota, but to simply get his way at all costs.  Indications, from a leaked email, show that there very well may be motivation from Dayton's camp to allow or force the shutdown to capitalize on the chaos that would ensue.

No comments:

Post a Comment