01 July 2005

Minnesota's Government Shuts Down

No, Walter Mondale isn't back in office.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - More than 9,000 state employees were told to stay home Friday and drivers found highway rest stops closed at the start of the busy Fourth of July weekend as a budget stalemate led to the first government shutdown in Minnesota history.

The Democrats, who control the state Senate, were locked in a standoff with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the GOP-controlled House over how much to spend on schools and health care and how to pay for it. As a result, the new fiscal year began Friday, just after midnight, with only a partial spending plan in place.

"I'm frustrated and aghast," said Ellen Paquin, a clerical worker and 25-year state employee who said she worried about paying her mortgage after being thrown out of work. "We elected these individuals to do their jobs and it's a complete failure."

Essential services such as the state patrol continued to function, and an 11th-hour agreement was reached to keep state parks open over the holiday weekend. But drivers on one of the busiest travel days of the year found highway rest stops barricaded, and driver's license exam stations and other state offices were closed.

Nearly one-fifth of the state workforce was told to stay home and use either vacation time or go without pay. They will be officially laid off if the impasse extends beyond July 15.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Every year, the California legislature fails to get the budget done on time. Every year we see the histrionics of cots being rolled out and sleeves being rolled up. This is fake hustle -- just like sliding into first base.

If you run hard from the get go, you won't have to slide -- especially head first.

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