Special session ends shutdown

By Rep. John Kriesel (57A), 7/19/2011

Governor Dayton called us back for a special session on Tuesday to pass the bills that will balance the budget and end the shutdown. As many of you have heard, Governor Dayton has accepted, with conditions, our June 30th offer. While neither side is completely satisfied, I believe this is a positive sign that both sides have truly come together to compromise. In an effort to get Minnesotans back to work we have spent only what we have in our General Fund while protecting our core services.

Here is the basic outline of our budget agreement:
• Increase general fund spending by 6% without raising taxes.
• Previous General Fund spending: $32 billion
• Forecasted General Fund spending: $39 billion
• Governor Dayton proposal: $37 billion
• GOP proposal: $34 billion
• Final General Fund spending agreement: $34 billion

Being a compromise, there are some things I support and some I wish we could change. I am very pleased that we won’t be raising taxes. However, in order to get this concession from Governor Dayton we had to agree to more spending by delaying education payments. I don’t think this is the best way to finance government. My preference is to allow a casino to be built at Block E in downtown Minneapolis and Canterbury Park, with the state proceeds going to reduce this school shift. It doesn’t look like we’ll have the votes to get that done this year, but I’m committed to trying again next year.

Governor Dayton will sign these bills when they reach his desk, and the shutdown will be over. No one is 100-percent happy with a compromise, and that’s true here. But I think it is one that will benefit our state overall. We didn’t raise taxes, slowed down the growth in spending and made reforms that will improve the way government works.


Rep. John Kriesel (57A)
451 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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