Tue July 5, 2011
'Go To Work!' Minnesotans Vent As State Government Shutdown Continues
In Minnesota, where the state government has been shut down since Friday while the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled legislature remain at odds over how to fill a $5 billion budget gap, some lawmakers got an earful on Monday as they marched in July 4th parades.
Our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio report that in Stewartville, Laurie Heydt shouted "go to work!" as Republican state Sen. Dave Senjem passed by.
As MPR adds:
"Heydt was upset that Senjem was in the parade at all. She and others along the parade route thought the Legislature and the governor should have spent the holiday weekend at the State Capitol, hashing out a budget deal. ... As the hour-and-a-half long parade wound from the west side of Blooming Prairie toward downtown and then back to its starting point, there were at least a dozen outbursts from the crowd aimed at the state senator."
Not everyone in the crowds was angry enough to shout, however. The Star Tribune writes that "lawmakers from both parties who ventured to public events met with mostly polite receptions, with just a few sparks flying."
If you're trying to follow the news from Minnesota, there's a "Shutdown 2011" blog now at MPR's website. Among its latest updates:
-- "After being deemed 'non-critical,' the Minnesota Zoo has been given the green light to remain open during the shutdown."
-- "Programs and benefits funded by Medicaid will continue and that food shelves will be stocked during a shutdown."
-- "A fire inspector laid off as the result of a shutdown was brought back to work to help investigate a weekend fire in New Ulm that killed six people."
-- "The shutdown is having a trickle-down effect. Prisons will continue to operate, but visitors won't be allowed except for at two state facilities. Meanwhile, the state's historical sites and state parks are closed, but businesses near federal lands, such as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, are doing OK."
The impasse came, of course, right before a major holiday weekend when many Minnesotans wanted to enjoy the state's government-run parks. As for when the shutdown might end, the Star Tribune says that the holiday weekend break "hasn't lessened the rigid divide" between Republicans and Democrats.
Matt Sepic of MPR tells our Newscast Desk that the critical issue is how to "erase a $5 billion deficit" in the state budget. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Matt says, "wants higher income taxes on top earners. The GOP says no."