Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 in review: Democrats force state government shutdown

2005 was the first time every that there was a temporary shutdown of the state government in Minnesota. As the clock ticked away on the budget for the next biennium, DFL legislators lead by Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson refused to negotiate with Gov. Pawlenty and Republican legislators. Realizing the DFL couldn't the tax increases it so desperately wanted, Johnson adjourned the senate hours before the deadline, ending all hope of averting the shutdown.

Just what did the DFL want so bad that they were willing to shutdown the state's government?

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Republicans stopped the Democrats from passing a huge income-tax increase that would have given Minnesota the distinction of having the highest tax rate in the country -- higher than even Massachusetts. This session the DFL showed its true colors by proposing job-killing tax increases on individuals and businesses, ignoring the negative impact these increases have on our economy. (Source: Star Tribune, June 25, 2005)

Click here for the entire article

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The DFL's plan would have most certainly not gotten us to the nearly $1 billion surplus we have now.

The shutdown did, as many things in life do, have a bit of humor to it. The House GOP staged a camp-out outside of Dean Johnson's office, in case he changed his mind about negotiating. The members even set up a blog chronically their 24 hour-a-day watch for Johnson. (If anyone has the link to it, please let me know, I couldn't find it)

By forcing the shutdown, Dean Johnson watched as his dreams of being governor vanish before his eyes. Eventually Johnson apologized for shutting down the government.

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"“It wasn't pretty and I apologize to anyone who may have been harmed by the shutdown but the product we ended with will be good for all Minnesotans,"” said Johnson on a tour of his district Friday morning after a difficult special budgeting session in St. Paul. (Source: "“Sen. Johnson apologizes for shutdown,"” Sauk Centre Herald, July 19, 2005)
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Following the shutdown, Gov. Pawlenty introduced his plan for performance pay for politicians, meaning that if the legislators don' get the job done, they don't get paid. Pawlenty's proposal included the Governor as well as legislators.

Johnson was the first to come out against the plan, as well as chastised Pawlenty for calling an immediate special session.

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Johnson, a Willmar Democrat calls the Republican governor's proposal a publicity stunt designed to distance Pawlenty from the state's first government shutdown.

Johnson criticized Pawlenty for immediately calling lawmakers back into special session when they failed to pass a budget by the May 23rd deadline. The budget was passed after a nearly two-month special session and an eight-day government shutdown. (Source: AP, Aug. 5, 2005)
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Now party affiliation aside, why wouldn't Gov. Pawlenty call an immediate special session? In the real world, outside of Johnson's fantasy land, when people miss a deadline they usually work until they have completed their work, not take a few day break to Kentucky hiding from their problems.

No. 5: Meth
No 4: Eibensteiner Aqcutial
No. 3: Medica
No. 2: Democrats force state government shutdown

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