DFL Gov. Mark Dayton says he’ll call GOP legislative leaders this morning with the hopes of holding private meetings today to end the state government shutdown.
“I intend to call them this morning and see if they’re available to meet this afternoon, or as soon as possible thereafter so we can start putting this back together,” Dayton told MPR’s Morning Edition.
The shutdown began Friday after the two sides failed to come up with an agreement on how to resolve a $5 billion projected budget deficit projected over the next two years. About 22,000 state government employees have been laid off, and the shutdown is having an impact on the private sector as well.
“This is a terrible situation,” Dayton said of the shutdown, adding that he hopes moderates from both parties will come out and “force everyone to a resolution.”
Dayton acknowledged that the core political beliefs are part of the reason the impasse has gone on so long.
“Because we are standing on principles, it makes it much more difficult,” Dayton said.
Republican leaders have rejected Dayton’s proposal to raise income tax rates for the 7,700 Minnesota residents earning more than $1 million, saying tax hikes are the wrong strategy. Dayton has refused to sign on to the Republican budget plan, saying it cuts too much and would hurt the state’s most vulnerable residents
Dayton also said he would like to see social and political issues like a ban on human cloning, a requirement that people show a photo ID to vote and redistricting will not be included in budget talks.
“We’ll be at loggerheads for a very long time” if GOP wants those items in bills,” Dayton said.
You can listen to the full interview here:
MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar contributed to this report.