Analyst: Minnesotans will notice this shutdown

9:51 AM, Jun 29, 2011   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's possible people don't have much recollection of Minnesota's government shutdown in 2005.

"You didn't see very many things shut down that affected people on a day to day basis," said political analyst and Hamline Professor David Schultz.

But, don't let that fool you into believing a shutdown in 2011 will be no big deal.

"Minnesotans are going to see a very big difference this time compared to six years ago," said Schultz.

Here's why: The state budget is made up of roughly 10 bills. In 2005, all but three of those bills were settled before the shutdown. The biggest bills like K-12, Health and Human Services and the DNR were among those that got worked out ahead of time.

"We didn't have to worry about the funding for schools, we didn't have to worry about the parks being open or closed, didn't have to worry about if grandma was going to be tossed out of a nursing home or something like that," recalled Schultz.

But this year, it's quite the opposite. Only one bill, agriculture, has been settled.

"The Ag bill is a very, very small percentage of the budget, so they're really fighting over in excess of 90% of the state budget, in terms of how to spend it," said Schultz.

That means, come Friday, if there's still no agreement nearly every state department will shut down. State parks will close, people will be unable to obtain fishing licenses. The state lottery will also shut down sales and even some construction projects will simply stop.

Those are just a small sample of the things Minnesotans will notice, none of which, happened back in 2005. So, is there any chance we can still avoid a shutdown? At this point, it's unlikely.

"Even if the legislature and the Governor reached agreement today, it's looking like possibly that we still might have some sort of partial shutdown, no matter what, because time is running out," Schultz said.

A judge's ruling on what are considered essential services is expected any day now. Schultz believes that judge will order funding continued for any programs that have federal or state mandates attached to them. He also says funding is likely to continue for public health and safety issues.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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