As the state faces a government shutdown, Senate Republican Majority Leader Amy Koch has been pointing out that Dayton said he would never let it come to this.
“Gov. Dayton promised voters he would not shut down government,” Koch said in a press release June 10, the day 36,000 state workers were sent lay off notices.
In fact, Dayton did say he would reject a government shutdown during the 2010 campaign.
Dayton and the Republican-controlled legislature are at an impasse over $1.8 billion in spending for the next biennium. Dayton wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans to expand the budget, but Republicans are not on board.
Both sides have offered concessions since Dayton vetoed the Republican’s $34 billion budget in May. Dayton said he would trim his tax plan and support more spending cuts. Republicans are willing to shift $202 million in tax breaks to other programs. If they can’t reach a deal by July 1, state government will shut down. This week Dayton filed a court petition laying out his plans for which agencies would remain open during a shutdown.
During a debate in late October 2010, KSTP-TV reporter Tom Hauser asked Dayton what he would do in a situation very similar to the one the state is facing now. Dayton, at that point in time, was proposing raising taxes on many more people to raise $4 billion in new revenue.
“If you can’t get the tax increases that you want, and you can’t get the Legislature to go along with the vision that you have, how far would you be willing to go,” Hauser asked. “Would you allow government to shut down in order to try to get things the way you see them?”
“No, I would not shut government down,” answered Dayton. “Government imparts important services to the people of Minnesota and those services need to continue – public safety, the education system and the like.”
A bit later, Dayton seemed to back track, saying that he “would not compromise on the principle that we need to make taxes more progressive in Minnesota.”
Dayton’s spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci says the situation is very different now.
“The legislature failed to pass a budget that [Dayton] could sign, and he is now working every day to find compromise, so they can pass a budget he will sign into law,” she wrote in an email.
Koch says that Dayton promised no government shutdown. While she fails to point out that he made this comment during the campaign — long before the current stalemate — he was responding to a question that described a situation very similar to the one the state is in now.
As a result, Koch’s first PoliGraph test is accurate.
Sen. Amy Koch, Republican Legislative Leaders Comment on Layoff Notices Sent to 36,000 State Workers, June 10, 2011
C-SPAN, Minnesota gubernatorial debate, Oct. 24, 2010
Minnesota Public Radio News, Dayton revises budget offer, by Tom Scheck, May 16, 2011
Interview, Michael Brodkorb, spokesman, Sen. Amy Koch, June 16, 2011
Interview, Katharine Tinucci, spokeswoman, Gov. Mark Dayton, Jun