Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Republicans in Minnesota

Because they refuse to ask the state’s wealthiest 2 percent to pay their fair share to help close a budget deficit, Republican state legislators in Minnesota are just days away from forcing a government shutdown close the doors to vital public services for working families and toss 38,000 state employees out of work

In May, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a two-year budget that attacked the state’s deficit only through spending cuts, including education, health and human services, public safety, jobs and economic development. Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D) proposed budget also called for significant spending cuts, but included a small tax increase on the state’s richest 2 percent.

Dayton vetoed the cuts-only budget and Republicans have refused to reach a compromise. If a deal is not reached by July 1, the state government will shut down. If it does, says Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (MRLF), it won’t just close the doors on 38,000 state workers who’ve already received their layoff notices. It will adversely affect

everyone who counts on services the state provides or funds—from highways to health care to unemployment checks to state parks—is at risk of a serious disruption to their lives.

According to news reports, Dayton has offered compromises, but Republican leaders refuse to budge from their all-cuts budget. Talks between the two sides broke off Sunday, but are expected to resume. McCarthy says as the July 1 deadline looms.

People are anxious and scared. People are mad. They want legislators to stop protecting the richest two percent and instead make choices that protect the middle class.

On Thursday Invest in Minnesota—a coalition of faith, labor, community and other groups–will rally at the state capitol in St. Paul for a fair budget.

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