WEST LAKELAND TOWNSHIP, Minn. -- The first rest area in Minnesota on I-94, near Wisconsin, was a very busy place Sunday afternoon. "This is one of the nicest ones I've seen," Maria Rodriguez of Mankato said during a quick stop.
She wasn't happy to hear it would likely be closed in less than a month. "Wow, it's going to be abandoned?" she exclaimed. It looks that way; Minnesota is heading towards a government shutdown.
"It's a losing proposition for the taxpayers of the state of Minnesota," Political Analyst and Hamline University Professor David Schultz said. He also has another way of putting it. "Overall, the cost associated with the shutdown are far greater than any savings that occur as a result of a shutdown," he explained.
Schultz had a long list of reasons for believing that. He says planning for a shutdown, executing it, and restarting the government will cost money. Laying people off and terminating and halting contracts will too, he argues. Also on his list; it'll cost money to rehire people and the state won't be collecting park fees or vehicle registration payments. And one of the biggest problems will be taking away spending power.
"There's going to be several tens of thousands of people who are either going to be out of work or potentially lose work and they're not going to be buying groceries, not buying food, not buying a whole lot of different things... not spending, all that has an impact," Schultz said.
His list goes on. The cities won't know how much they can spend and the public schools won't either, and that could cost significantly. Another concern for the state is the potential for road construction projects being put on ice. "Lots of things potentially could kick in on July 1st."
Now, the professor doesn't believe all state governments programs will shutdown. The core essential functions, he says, will be thrown a life preserver, like they were in the 2005 shutdown.
Schultz warns taxpayers not to compare the ramifications of 2005 to what he plans to see next month. In 05' a number of budget bills had been passed prior to the shutdown. 2011 is a different story. "With the exception of the agriculture bill, just about everything else has not been agreed to by the governor and the state legislature, which means the degree of the shutdown is potentially far greater now."
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved)