Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders haven’t held private budget talks since Wednesday, but the two sides are busy issuing press releases on the lack of a budget deal.
Thirty-six thousand state employees started receiving notice today that they will be laid off on July 1st if Gov. Dayton fails to reach a budget deal with GOP legislative leaders.
Dayton issued a statement saying he was working to protect vital services.
“Today, more than 36,000 state employees will receive a layoff notice. It is a grim reminder of a deadline that is just 20 days away, and the reality of what a lack of compromise and agreement will mean not only for those thousands of hard-working state employees, their families and their communities, but also for the important services they provide to Minnesotans in every corner of our state.
“I am standing up for a budget that protects students, protects seniors, and prevents more than a billion dollars in property tax increases. Those choices are too important not to take a stand, and I know I stand on the side of Minnesotans. I continue to hope that the Legislature will join me in compromising, in finding a balanced solution to our budget, and in standing up for Minnesotans.”
Meanwhile in their press releases, GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers tried to pin a shutdown on Dayton.
“Governor Dayton promised voters he would not shut down government, yet state workers were sent layoff notices today,” Koch said in a statement. “Republicans delivered a responsible, balanced budget to the Governor’s desk in May, but he vetoed it. Just this week, we offered to meet the Governor’s funding levels in education and public safety to prevent a shut down. But it appears that is still not enough for the Governor.
I ask the Governor to consider our compromise offer, join us in prioritizing the people instead of raising taxes. If not, the decision to shut down the government will be on Governor Dayton.”
“It is unfortunate that state employees are receiving layoff notices today when there is no need for a government shutdown,” Zellers said in a statement. “The Republican budget approved in May by the Minnesota Legislature is balanced and provides a 6 percent increase in funding. It keeps government open and operating. I implore Governor Dayton to continue working with us to reach a final budget solution before June 30.”
Dayton says Republicans need to agree to find more revenue over the next two years. Republicans object to Dayton’s proposal to raise income taxes on Minnesota’s top earners. The two sides are $1.8 billion apart.
Dayton’s spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci says no budget negotiations are scheduled for this weekend.