Friday, July 01, 2011

Day One. Not much to report on the shutdown front today. The hearing conducted by Special Master Kathleen Blatz, former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and State Representative from Bloomington, took place today with a number of state service providers filing petitions seeking to have the services they provide classified as essential.

The Minnesota School Boards Association has filed a petition calling for special education services to be deemed essential. As I reported yesterday, I believe compelling arguments can be made to have those services fall into the essential category and I would not be surprised at all if the Special Master were to rule in that direction.

Interesting that a spat broke out between the Attorney General's office and attorneys representing Governor Dayton at the hearing. If you recall, Attorney General Swanson petitioned Judge Gearin for pretty much a "non-shutdown" prior to Judge Gearin's ruling that was very close to that advocated by the Governor. Makes for big fun, if you like this sort of thing. Me, I'll just pass.

Bits and Pieces from the Last Night of Negotiations. One item that piqued my interest as I read the re-hash of the last few hours of negotiations between the Governor and the Legislature was a call for an increase in the shift by Republican legislators as they sought to close the budget gap. Governor Dayton wouldn't buy into that suggestion, which is one reason why we are where we are right now. It just goes to show you, just when you think the last can has been kicked down the road, someone comes out of the ditch with a new one.

Who is Going to Win? Besides no one. I think this opinion piece by the StarTribune sets out a fairly plausible estimate of how this might turn out in the short term. There are both political and policy angles to what will happen from this point, but the fact that DFL constituencies likely face more potential damage from the shutdown than do Republican constituencies shouldn't be lost on anyone. Just hard to believe that accord can be reached without some type of general tax increase.

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