The end is near, and Rosemount residents are ready to voice their opinions on the state government shutdown.
Thursday afternoon, Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Republican legislative leaders agreed to move toward a swift end to a two-week-long state government shutdown with a preliminary budget that requires Dayton to make sacrifices, and that calls for conditions to which Republicans must agree.
Melissa Lavoie, who works at , commented that she thought any shutdown has been “ridiculous” and “a big waste of time.”
“My uncle [has been] a part of this – he isn’t working right now; he lost his job [because of the shutdown]. He’s got a kid going to college, and another one going to Germany. It’s bad. They can’t be doing this to people,” she said.
Debra Arby, a waitress at , agreed. “I think it’s just been stupid,” she said about the shutdown. “They can’t make lottery tickets, the parks shut down, people couldn’t work…"
Although she hasn't been affected personally by the situation, other than not being able to play the Minnesota Lottery games, she said, "It was crazy.”
“From a development perspective where we needed appropriations for road projects… and its effects on liquor licenses, where we had to renew [them]… it was beginning to have minor impacts on small businesses in our community," Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste said.
“[The City of Rosemount doesn't] receive any Market Value Homestead Credit (MVHC); so we don’t receive any local government aid from the state – we’re zero, so anything we get is a gift,” Droste added. “We’ve been at zero since 2003. To us, there’s no impact [in that area]."
Gov. Mark Dayton to Hold Possible Special Session Monday
Appearing on Minnesota Public Radio on Friday afternoon, Gov. Mark Dayton said he is willing to call a special session Monday morning but first needs to read all nine of the unsigned legislative bills.
The governor gave his negotiators a deadline of 10 p.m. Friday to have the deals in place.
While Dayton has said he’s happy with , he understands that not all Democrats share his zeal.
“It may be there are some [bills] they find they can support,” Dayton said, referring to the K12 education bill. “[And] there will be bills that have bipartisan support. The tax bill, I wouldn’t vote for, either.”
“They [the governor and GOP leaders] are making this way too difficult. They need to leave the middle class alone and let us work our jobs. They need to go after the rich; the rich are being greedy… they’re not out there where we are," Lavoie said. "They’re just sitting in their offices, taking checks … I mean, [they should] take a real job where you have to actually struggle, like factory work.
"I heard this is the longest shutdown in the state’s history. The fact that it lasted this long, and we [the state] actually lost even more money, and it caused so many people to suffer and worry, it wasn’t necessary at all.”
As for the state shutdown ending, Droste said, “I’m not following that closely [at this time], but to give people fishing licenses, and [enable them to] utilize public amenities, really helps this busy time of the year. Hopefully, [people] will stay within Minnesota instead of [going over to] Wisconsin.”
Opinions on the State's Underlying Problems
Lavoie said she believes a large part of the problem is the state spending money on the wrong things. “You hear about taxpayers’ money going to a stadium – I’m sorry, but it should be going to [more important] things. And there’s way too many people on welfare that should be working. We just give, give, give…”
When asked what Arby thought about Dayton agreeing to the Republicans’ proposal sparing the richest Minnesotans from additional taxes, she said, “Well, why should the wealthy have to pay for everyone? … And then you have all these people on welfare that don’t need to be. They should get their butts out there, get a job and work. They raise their kids the [same] way [as how they're acting], and it’s not helping them – it’s not teaching them any better [as they grow up].”
Suzie Zick, owner of Suzie’s Kitchen, said she doesn’t think raising taxes is the answer. “I don’t believe in raising taxes on them [the wealthy] – but I do know they get an awful lot of tax breaks, and I think they should cut those. I’m a working person – you should pay what you’re able to.”
Zick said her biggest issue is welfare and other social programs funded by taxpayers. “I understand there are people who can’t work – old people, the disabled – but there are a lot of people who can, and they don’t.”
She also agreed that the shutdown was unnecessary. “What was the point of all that? We lost all the money [that could have been made during the shutdown]. He [Dayton] was the guy that was supposed to save us. It was a waste of time and money. It’s not enough we’re all broke already – so just dig a deeper hole and climb out without a ladder?”
Overall, “It’s so pathetic – you’re watching grown men and women acting like children. I mean, I wasn’t personally impacted by the shutdown, but my family was. It’s just sad when you’re trying to get by, and you think you’ve got a good job with the state, and then this happens," Lavoie said. "I just keep hearing they’re taking money from the middle class [for example, the K-12 schools in the new proposal]. People should be more equal.”
While he is expecting resistance, Dayton was confident that the “rough edges and details” would not be enough to derail negotiations or extend the shutdown.
Dayton also said he hopes to be able to provide back pay to the 22,000 state workers laid off on July 1. But he did not confirm whether this would happen for sure.
The governor is scheduled to appear on Almanac on Twin Cities public television at 7 p.m.