OUR OPINION: SHUTDOWN | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

OUR OPINION: SHUTDOWN

It’s time for politicians to Strike a deal

Posted: June 16, 2011 - 9:28pm

Minnesotans’ patience with Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers has worn thin. We want a budget deal struck before state government is forced to largely shut down on July 1.

Political realities, of course, demand that Dayton and the Republican majority have to try to please their supporters. We understand that. But now it’s time for compromise and for an agreement — even if it’s one that both sides find distasteful.

The vast majority of Minnesotans are not political partisans who follow the policy arguments. They don’t care about the politics. They just don’t want the government to mess up their lives and that’s exactly what a government shutdown will do to thousands of Minnesotans. And it’s all unnecessary.

Dayton and the legislators are on a course where they’ll fall short of the bare minimum expectations Minnesotans have of their government. If the current impasse continues the lights will be shut off and important services Minnesotans rely on will come to a halt. 

A temporary surtax to get us out of this  year’s fiscal mess is one possible solution this newspaper has suggested, but it would require a firm sunset clause. It’s clear the current cast of characters in St. Paul is too polarized to come up with any permanent structural change in tax policy.

If it were possible, we’d suggest changing the way the governor and legislators are paid. Perhaps withholding part of their salaries until they complete work on a state budget would get their attention.

It’s time for the politicians to do what they were elected to do and keep state government functioning. There are no political winners if a shutdown occurs and voters might have longer memories than our  elected officials think.