Dayton says some in GOP ‘don’t know what government does’

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday called some Republican members of the Legislature “anti-government.”

“They don’t know what government does,” Dayton told MPR’s Morning Edition. “They don’t view a shutdown as catastrophically as I do.”

Dayton said he’s asking his commissioners to identify critical services to protect in case he and Republican leaders are unable to reach agreement on a budget by July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

Dayton said he’s still pessimistic a deal can be reached, noting that Republicans have been “united and steadfast” against raising taxes. He said within both the House and Senate Republican caucuses are “right-wing sub-caucuses.”

“They just won’t budge,” he said.

He said they are stuck on the overall size of the budget.

“$34 billion, then they prefer $32 billion, and then $31 billion. I mean, they don’t even know what those numbers mean,” Dayton said. “All they know is the number 31 is less than 32. And that makes it a good idea because they’re just anti-government.”

Though Dayton agreed a temporary government shutdown would be a “terrible catastrophe,” he said agreeing to the budget plan the Republican-controlled Legislature approved would be even worse.

When asked if Dayton has tried reaching out to Republican members who might be willing to break ranks on a budget, Dayton said he hasn’t started that process yet.

“We can’t pass anything without Republican votes, so somebody’s going to have to exercise a profile in courage and do what’s right for Minnesota,” he said.

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Note: MPR host Cathy Wurzer mentioned during the interview that a partial state government shutdown occurred under Jesse Ventura’s time as governor. The shutdown occurred in 2005 under then Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

(MPR reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this report.)

  • Michal Anderson-Lowther

    I agree with Governor Dayton 100%. I am completely disgusted with how the Republicans have been operating. They seem to want to run our state into the ground and have been on that path for 9 years now. They certainly are different than their forebearers who left a state that worked together for the good of all. You at MPR need to be sure to check the “facts” that are often presented by the conservatives. So many of them are just talking points.

  • steve wood

    More than holding his position, Gov. Dayton should go back to his initial position on tax increases, withdrawing the “half way there” offer he made to Republicans. The hard line Republicans are bloated by a mob mentality induced perceived strength. The reality is they signed a dogmatic pledge essentially promising “no taxes, not now, not ever”. All in order to be supported by the Republican coffers for election and re-election. That is not responsible. That is not governing. Most of them will not see the light, not now, not ever. But if the state comes to a halt, maybe it will sink in to the thick heads of some of those who voted for them, that they were hoodwinked and made a big mistake.

  • Eioljg

    100% in agreement with Steve Wood. I’ll just add that those who don’t understand government in reality don’t understand what a civil servant is, in effect disrespecting many of their friends, neighbors and Constituents.

  • Kati

    I am so frustrated and angered by the GOP. I completely agree with all of the comments here. Last week I listened to Amy Koch on Midday stating information as if they were fact and Gary didn’t question her. Some of the things she was saying were not backed up by fact (in fact, most economists would disagree with her) and instead she backed her positions up by saying that other states were taking similar actions. Who cares what other states do? She reminded me of a kid in school, “everybody’s doing it!”. I was incredibly disgusted after listening to that program! when will they listen to the people and get off their high horses, they say they were elected to not raise taxes, yet Dayton got elected being very clear that he intended to raise taxes. to me, it is clear that they need to re-consider their positions and let go of some pride and compromise for the good of Minnesota and all of the people who will suffer if they dont….more than enough said…

  • Marvin Bradford

    It is outright shameful how inconsiderate the Republicans are being. To echo Kati, they’re following a childish, illogical mantra that is sacrificing the good of the state all so they don’t lose political capital. News flash: A Minnesota that can’t afford to pave roads, plow snow, or clean up after a disaster like the tornado isn’t a Minnesota that people will be happy with.

  • Ryan

    Wow, look at all the name calling by liberals. Real classy. But that is all we expect from the biased liberal NPR faithful. When you people post responses that tell actual truths instead of using FAKE problems and issues that don’t exist, maybe people will begin to listen to your cry baby complaints. You have no answers. You refuse to live within your means. You spent more than you take in. Enough of the welfare handouts to state government employees and the lazy who can work and afford to pay their own way in life. We are broke. You guys want to raise taxes and spend more and more. I hope the state does shut down. It will affect NO ONE. A couple of potties on the highway will be shut down, so people will have to use a gas station. Oh no! A state park will shut down, so people will use a county park or God forbid, a private campground. Oh no!