Dayton Lambasts GOP Leaders as Government Shutdown Looms

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GOP leaders Amy Koch, Kurt Zellers and Geoff Michel called on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton this morning to restart budget negotiations in hopes of preventing a government shutdown. The Republican leaders met with the media to outline proposals they have made to Governor Dayton since the end of the legislative session in May and requested a revised budget proposal from him.

Following the GOP news conference, Governor Mark Dayton issued the following words:

Dear Senator Koch and Speaker Zellers:

Your offer last Thursday was extremely disappointing. It provided no increase to your proposed state budget of $34 billion for the next biennium. Over a month ago, on May 16, I offered to compromise and meet you half-way between our two budgets. You rejected that offer, and you continue to insist that I agree entirely to your position. That is neither reasonable nor responsible.. Your continuing unwillingness to compromise will make it impossible for us to reach a fair and balanced solution by June 30.

Your offer last Thursday to rearrange your priorities from tax reductions to support for education, public safety, and other essential services, is an improvement to your budget. You are welcome to do so, although it does nothing to alleviate the severe cuts your $34 billion budget would impose on so many Minnesotans.

However, your proposal that I agree to forego my $1.8 billion in increased tax revenues, which come entirely from closing corporate tax loopholes and raising income taxes on only 2% of Minnesota’s highest income earners, in return for your foregoing $200 million in tax cuts, is so obviously inequitable as to be absurd. It shows once again how unreasonable and unrealistic your negotiating tactics are.

This continuing impasse, with only 11 days left before a very serious government shutdown, further demonstrates the need for a mediator to assist us in reaching an overall budget agreement before June 30. The absence of any meaningful progress, since I offered to reduce my proposed budget and meet you half-way, underscores the critical need for a new approach. Nevertheless, I am available to meet with you at any time, with or without a mediator, when you are willing ot make a meaningful offer toward a fair and balanced budget resolution.

Sincerely, Governor Mark Dayton

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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