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Vulnerable feel the pinch of Minn. gov’t shutdown
The political stalemate meant instant layoffs for 22,000 state workers, including Paul Bissen, a road and bridge inspector for more than 26 years. Bissen said he cut back on spending last month. He figured he could go a couple of months without worrying, but on the first day of the shutdown, he said it looked like his washing machine had died — adding another expense.
“I want to work. I’ve got road construction projects to build, to try to make them safe and make them smooth so people can get back to forth to their work,” Bissen said.
Fearful of voter anger, both parties blasted each other for Minnesota’s second shutdown in six years.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin laid the blame on Republicans, saying they drove the state to a shutdown to protect millionaires from tax increases sought by Dayton.
The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a left-leaning group supportive of Dayton, plans to run weekend radio ads in three popular vacation areas blaming Republicans for the impact of the shutdown, including closed state parks. The group also debuted a “shutdown shame” website.
The shutdown has been a slow-motion disaster, with a new Democratic governor and new Republican legislative majorities at odds for months over how to eliminate the state budget deficit. Dayton has been determined to raise taxes on high-earners to close the deficit, while Republicans insisted that it be closed only by cuts to state spending.
Even after the shutdown looked like a certainty, Dayton and Republicans did not soften their conflicting principles. Dayton said he campaigned and was elected on a promise not to make spending cuts to a level he called “draconian.”
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