Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Minnesota, little urgency to end government shutdown

Instead of sending Minnesota's elected leaders into a frenzy of activity, the nation's only state government shutdown has deepened the political paralysis that led them to their budget standoff. Top Democrats and Republicans have given no sign when they will talk again about how to resolve the stalemate.

After blowing May and June deadlines to agree on a budget, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders have met only twice - once for less than 30 minutes - and have made no apparent progress since most of state government closed July 1. There's little sense of urgency, even with 22,000 state employees idled, 100 road projects stopped, 66 state parks barricaded, an assortment of services discontinued and the state's top credit rating tarnished.

The lack of action contrasts with what's been happening in Washington, where an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling has lawmakers scrambling for a deal that would keep the U.S. from a potential default on its debt. President Barack Obama has summoned leaders for a rare weekend session and aides are trading proposals behind the scenes. (read more)