The budget has been signed. The shutdown is over.
Insults were hurled. Accusations were made. Pleas were ignored. But in the end, the people’s business was finished.
WHAT WENT DOWN
Gov. Mark Dayton just signed into law all 12 budget bills passed in the middle of the night Wednesday by the Minnesota House and Senate. Dayton’s signatures ended the shutdown of Minnesota government—at 20 days, it was the longest continuous shutdown of any state government in United States history.
In the end, Dayton kept his promise that he wouldn’t sign any of the bills until all 12 had passed through both houses of the legislature.
At the start of the marathon special session, it seemed as though the process would be over quickly. In its first hour, the Senate passed six of 12 bills while the House passed five. But by 1 a.m. Wednesday, just eight bills were ready to be sent to the governor, with the House passing an additional two.
At that point, the legislative finish line was still well out of sight. As expected, the bills on taxes, health and human services, K-12 education and state government garnered the most spirited debates on the House floor.
Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) called the Republican-written budget “morally bankrupt,” and Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) said Republicans had “every reason to hang (their) heads in shame.” House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) countered by accusing DFLers of forgetting to do their jobs and “dragging (Minnesota) into a shutdown.”
In the end, the budget went the way most people expected it to go after Dayton, on July 14, accepted the Republican budget proposal, without the policy provisions first attached to the budget when it was first presented on June 30.
LOCAL LAWMAKERS SPEAK OUT
Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) told Patch that the budget solution doesn’t solve the real problem: a swollen budget with few long-term fixes.
“The gap that we have fixed has been fixed with one time money…with a Band-Aid and we’ll bleed more next year,” she said. “We still don’t have revenue that’s in line with our projected expenditures…This is a solution that is not fiscally responsible.”
Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) said he was "disappointed" with the final budget.
"We’re now stealing $2.3 billion total from our school children — with no way to pay it back. We’re borrowing $700 million from future revenue that isn’t guaranteed — putting more debt on our children," he said. "We’re almost literally mortgaging the future of our state. This is the height of fiscal irresponsibility and our state will be paying for it for decades to come."
Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie/Minnetonka) chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. He called the HHS budget, “a good agreement.”
Hann said that the money from Dayton’s $500 million bonding bill would be used to “create reforms” which would keep any future growth in the HHS budget below 5 percent. This is a sweeping change, Hann said, because it bucks a growth trend that has seen the HHS budget nearly double in the last decade.
“We think that is very significant. Everyone has talked about the need to try to control the growth in spending. We think we have put reforms in this budget that have accomplished that," he said.
(R-Eden Prairie/Minnetonka) echoed Hann's upbeat sentiments on the HHS budget but didn't give the overall plan his complete endoresement.
"The state budget we put in place during this week's special session is not a perfect one, but we did eliminate our $5 billion shortfall, end the state shutdown and pass reforms that will greatly improve our fiscal future," he said in a statement.
Listed below are the bills and the votes that passed them:
To read comments from Rep. Connie Doepke (R-Wayzata/Minnetonka), click .
Read the latest developments on the government shutdown by following the Minnetonka Patch facebook page or by clicking on one of these recent stories:
July 12: VIDEO: Day 12 of Government Shutdown
Click here for Patch coverage of the Minnesota shutdown on Huffington Post.