I’m writing this letter to address the finger pointing that’s occurring between the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton regarding who would be responsible if there’s no budget agreement by July 1, thereby prompting a government shutdown.
I have some experience in this area as I served in the State Senate as a Democrat under Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. It was a similar situation as today, whereas the Legislative majority was the opposite party as the Governor. In 2007 and 2009, Governor Pawlenty rejected our budget proposals. The Democrat-led Legislature proceeded to negotiate with the Governor and was able to present him with budgets that he signed into law. This arduous process was filled with difficult decision-making and compromises, yet it was necessary for the well-being of our State.
In odd years, the Legislature’s primary responsibility is to present the Governor with a two-year budget that he must sign in to law in order for the State to operate in the next biennium. Although Republican Legislative leaders now claim they have balanced the budget, their assertions are meaningless if the Governor doesn’t sign the budget into law. As a result of their refusal to compromise, we, as a State, are now stuck. The negative ramifications of a government shutdown, therefore, rest squarely on the shoulders of Republican Legislators, including our local Senator Nienow and Representatives Barrett, Crawford and Daudt.
It is their job to present Governor Dayton with a budget that he will sign. I encourage them to compromise with Governor Dayton soon or we will all be in for a long, difficult summer.
Rick Olseen, Sunrise