The Minnesota government shutdown partly revolved around the issue of making millionaires pay more taxes.
The state of Minnesota has a budget deficit of $5 billion. Democrats want to close a part of that gap by raising taxes on the 7,700 Minnesotans, or 0.3 percent of the taxpaying population, that make over $1 million per year, said Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. (However, Dayton also wants to raise taxes on individuals who make more than $180,000, according to CBS.)
The Republicans, contrastingly, want to cut spending on health and welfare to close the budget gap. They believe the state government already has sufficient revenues, hence the opposition to raising taxes. However, some of them have expressed openness to other revenue streams through gambling and selling claims on tobacco settlement money.
In all, Dayton claims the difference between his budget and the Republican budget is $1.4 billion over a period of two years.
It's not all about the budget, however. Republicans also insisted on restrictions on abortions and stem cell research and requiring voters to present photo IDs at polls, measures which Dayton rejected.
Regardless of which side is to blame, the Minnesota government is now shut down. Below is a list of the impacts:
- Shutting down state parks and campgrounds (campers and hikers have been shooed out already)
- Shutting down certain highway rest stops
- Putting 23,000 non-essential state employees on furlough (i.e. they won't get paid)
Two of the (arguably) most famous Minnesotans, however, support the Republican hard line against more spending, even if comes at the cost of a government shutdown.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said:
I applaud Minnesota Republican legislators for standing up to reckless spending and higher taxes. At a time when families and businesses are stretched to the limit due to high federal taxes and a history of excessive executive waste, the last thing the people of Minnesota can afford is higher taxes. Hopefully Governor Dayton will realize that fiscal restraint is what is necessary to strengthen the Minnesota economy and create jobs.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said:
We have to get government spending under control. The Democrats won't do it. I applaud the Republicans for standing strong and encourage them to keep standing strong.