Dayton Surrenders in Minnesota Shutdown

Mark Dayton is willing to give in to key Republican demands to end a two-week shutdown. Will it be enough?

Mark Dayton is willing to give in to key Republican demands to end a two-week shutdown. Will it be enough?

AP (“Dayton: Willing to take GOP offer, with conditions“):

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton offered Thursday to end a two-weekgovernment shutdown by accepting a Republican proposal to bring more money into Minnesota’s budget.

Dayton announced that he is willing to agree to an offer Republican legislative leaders made just before the shutdown started, if they will agree to drop a list of policy changes and a plan to reduce the state workforce by 15 percent. The Republican proposal would raise $1.4 billion, half by delaying state aid checks to school districts and the other half by selling tobacco payment bonds.

Aides said GOP leaders were reviewing Dayton’s offer and had no immediate comment.

If they agree to Dayton’s proposal and the pieces fall in place, the first-term governor said he is prepared to call a special session within three days.

The move was a major concession by Dayton, who has sought to soften the effect of budget cuts by raising income taxes on the highest earners. More recently, he has offered to consider an array of other revenue raisers, including cigarette and alcohol taxes and a broader sales tax.

Dayton has been on the road this week, holding public events around the state, and said he received a clear message from the people he met: End the shutdown.

“They want this resolved and they don’t even care how. I care how,” Dayton told a University of Minnesota audience in Minneapolis.

Dayton said he is reluctant to accept the Republicans’ way out of the budget impasse.

“Despite my serious reservations about your plan, I have concluded that continuing the state government shutdown would be even more destructive for too many Minnesotans,” he said in a letter to GOP leaders that he read aloud. “Therefore, I am willing to agree to something I do not agree with — your proposal — in order to spare our citizens and our state from further damage.”

The Fix (“Mark Dayton offers deal that could end Minnesota shutdown“):

“If this gets resolved and gets Minnesota back to work in the next few days, then it doesn’t matter what people say about me,” Dayton said in a press conference at the University of Minnesota this morning.

Republicans are reviewing Dayton’s request now and have yet to respond.

In his letter, Dayton wrote that he would still prefer to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans, but he sees that Republicans are not willing to budget on that issue.

No word on whether the risk of beermageddon was the final straw. We’ll see if Minnesota Republicans will accept their victory or continue to press for unconditional surrender.

This outcome will presumably bolster the resolve of Republicans in the U.S. Congress to push for more concessions from President Obama in the showdown over the debt ceiling. Like Dayton, Obama is more likely to flinch in a game of high-stakes chicken.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. lunaticllama says:

    tobacco payment bonds are a nightmare. that’s just giving away tax collections to financial firms in exchange for upfront cash. it’s a completely unsustainable budget practice and leads to less revenue over time (no one hands out money for free.) it makes me sad when politicians sell off parts of our state to wall street because they are not brave enough to actually, you know, fund government operations.

  2. mattb says:

    Like Dayton, Obama is more likely to flinch in a game of high-stakes chicken.

    I’m honestly not sure about this one @James. I think that he understands the short and longer term of blinking. And, at this point, I suspect that he’s been pushed to the point where he’s prepared to pull a Clinton.

    Especially since, if he does give in here then it will confirm to the opposition that he’ll always give in when the chips are down and the other party is betting on “crazy.”

  3. Tobacco payment bonds remind me of Christine Todd Whitman’s disastrous bonds in the nineties in Jersey. Insanely stupid.

  4. mantis says:

    a plan to reduce the state workforce by 15 percent.

    More unemployed. That will help the economy!

  5. John Burgess says:

    @mantis: If those 15% are not productive in any useful way, then it is indeed a benefit to all. Except the 15%. They can move to where jobs are plentiful, I guess… Washington, DC.