Minnesota government shuts down over spending plan

| 7/1/2005

Where’s Jesse Ventura when you need him?

The Minnesota government, usually known for being on top of things, shut down on Friday, July 1, for the first time in the state’s history when lawmakers couldn’t come to terms on a temporary spending plan.

The Associated Press reported that 9,000 state employees have been left without jobs, and highway rest stops will be unattended during the July Fourth weekend.

Lawmakers from the state House and Senate were deadlocked over several key issues – including school funding and health care for the poor – which is what led to the impasse.

Each side fired shots blaming the other side for the shutdown. The Senate passed a temporary measure that would have extended the current funding, but both the House and the state’s governor, Tim Pawlenty, rejected it.

The AP reported that House republicans rejected the temporary measure because they said it was only a means for Democrats in the Senate to drag debate on the funding issue on into the late summer.

“The Senate wanted to shut down government from the beginning,” said Republican House Speaker Steve Sviggum.

This is the first time in its history that Minnesota’s government has shut down, and it is the first state to do so since Tennessee in 2002.