Union ad pushes tax hike to avoid shutdown

Minnesota’s public employee unions have launched a television advertising campaign aimed at convincing Republican legislators to support a budget compromise that would avoid a government shutdown.

With no budget agreement in sight, state officials are expected to mail out layoff notices Thursday to 36,000 state workers. A shutdown will begin July 1st without a new budget.

Four unions — AFSCME Council 5, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, Inter Faculty Organization and Middle Management Association — are backing the statewide ad, which takes DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s side in the budget impasse. Union leaders support his proposed income tax increase on top earners.

Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council 5, said the legislators who promised to grow jobs and boost the economy are now facing the largest layoff in state history.

“I want you to imagine for a second that this was a private sector company, a private sector company in Minnesota that was putting 36,000 people out of work,” Seide said. “These same leaders in the Legislature would be on their knees begging that company to keep those people working.”

But Republicans predict the ad will have little impact on their ranks. Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said he’s convinced there’s no need for a shutdown.

“We can get this done,” Michel said. “We can do it on time. We can finish this in June. We’ve got enough revenue. We don’t need a tax increase, and I find it hard to even contemplate a shutdown. We should be spending much more of our time on the work on putting together a budget, and less of our time worrying about these July scenarios, because we should make sure they don’t happen.”

  • danno

    And geoffy steps up to be the next intellectual midget. I wonder if he and Grover have a personal relationship or if he truly believes his blather. To our republican compatriots–folks, taxes are not a sin, they are an essential (and exclusive) means of financing the government that we all apparently want.

  • Jamie

    I would like to see some verification of the information in MPR’s news story about legislators betting on the state shut-down. I heard it was just Republicans who were doing the betting. MPR reported it as generic legislators, implying that Democrats are betting, too. Is this MPR’s typical Republican-biased reporting (by omission of facts this time), or did I get mis-information?

  • Jamie

    // “he’s convinced there’s no need for a shutdown…” //

    Of course there’s no NEED for a state shutdown, but Republicans are going to force one by their extremism.

    // “‘We can get this done,’ Michel said. ‘We can do it on time. We can finish this in June. We’ve got enough revenue. We don’t need a tax increase…blah blah…’” //

    Yeah, we can do this as long as Dayton capitulates and plays their my-way-or-the-highway game.

  • danno

    With due credit and no blame to Pascal. If either budget is adopted and works out, we win. If the Republican budget is adopted and does not work out, we have a huge problem on our hands and yes, we lose. If the Governor’s budget is adopted and doesn’t work out, we have enough money to try to encourage some of those Tea-partiers to leave, and yes, we win. So you see, adopting the Republican is a win-lose situation while adopting the governor’s budget is win-win. If you have a Republican friend, try to explain it to them.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    “We should be spending much more of our time on the work on putting together a budget…” – Senator Geoff Michel

    Senator Michel and the GOP had five months to do this work, but chose instead to busy themselves with banning gay marriage, impeding the right to vote, authorizing a state currency, and a variety of other zealotries and inanities. Serious consideration of a real budget solution was not on Senator Michel’s mind until when? Yesterday?