Tag Archives: shutdown

Ernie Leidiger learns to love the K-12 school shift

As a candidate last fall, Rep. Ernie Leidiger took a hard stance against the $1.9 billion in K-12 education funding shifts used to balance the 2010-11 state budget:

In less than 24 hours, the House took up its third version of a omnibus K-12 education bill, sent it to conference committee, took it up again and passed it, only to have it rejected by the Senate. In the end, school funding was left virtually unchanged, except for the $1.9 billion Democrats borrowed from schools just to balance the state budget. So now they’ve delayed payments to school districts. They build up the infrastructure yet can’t fund it.

Last night, Rep. Leidiger voted to shift an additional $700 million away from K-12 education to balance the budget, raising the state’s debt to its school districts up to $2 billion dollars.  If this is the Republican notion of “fiscal responsibility”, count me out.

Leidiger voted dutifully along party lines in the special session (except for his vote on the bonding bill — more on that later), after thumping his chest earlier in the week about how he was going not convinced that the additional spending in the bills were necessary.


Comparisons of the first five budget bills

Details of the first five budget bills for the special session have been released.  These are the bills for Higher Education, Environment, Commerce & Energy, Jobs & Economic Development, Public Safety, and Transportation.  Combined, these areas only make up about 1/7 of the state’s General Fund spending.  What we see in these five bills is total spending levels split about halfway between Gov. Dayton’s March proposal and the bills passed by the GOP majority in May.

Higher education is still taking a pounding even with the budget compromise.  Current funding is $2.811 billion, meaning that there’s about $245 million in spending reductions — all coming directly out of the University of Minnesota ($126 million cut) and MnSCU ($129 million cut).  The only saving grace for higher ed funding is that financial aid programs for students are protected.  Other things of note include Twin Cities transit funding — the GOP had wanted that line item slashed by nearly $100 million to $20 million while Governor Mark Dayton had budgeted $129 million.  The two sides agreed to a figure of $78 million for the next biennium.

Star Tribune calls out Leidiger for taking pay during shutdown

Also drawing a paycheck: Republican Sens. Sean Nienow, Cambridge; Warren Limmer, Maple Grove, and Scott Newman, Hutchinson, and Reps. Glenn Gruenhagen, Glencoe, and Ernest Leidiger, Mayer.

They are five of the six legislators who have filed suit arguing that court-ordered spending for even critical services is unconstitutional and must be stopped. But meanwhile a little spending money sure comes in handy.

Read more at: 

Editorial: Lawmakers should share in the payroll pain

Ortman keeps getting paid while 23,000 state workers don’t

Yesterday, the list of House members still getting paid during the government shutdown was released.  Ernie Leidiger and Joe Hoppe are still collecting their paychecks while thousands of state workers are not.  Today, the Senate list was released.

Chanhassen’s Sen. Julianne Ortman is still collecting her paycheck, too. 

It would be nice if our Representatives would walk their talk when it comes to government spending.  If they care so much for government employees, show us a sign that you understand the mess that you’ve gotten the state into and give up the paycheck and per diem until this is resolved.

Hoppe and Leidiger keep cashing their paychecks during shutdown

There’s no budget deal and over 20,000 state employees find themselves sitting at home, laid off.  But that doesn’t seem to be troubling Carver County Representatives Joe Hoppe and Ernie Leidiger, who have chosen to keep receiving their paychecks during the shutdown.

Who says that Hoppe and Leidiger aren’t in favor of “shared sacrifice” to solve the budget deficit?  After all, it seems that they’re more than happy to share their sacrifice and let someone else bear the burden.

Here’s our salary-taking Representatives — if you see them around town, ask them why they’re getting paid when their work isn’t done:

Rep. Joe Hoppe

Rep. Ernie Leidiger







(photo of Rep. Leidiger on the House floor above courtesy Associated Press)

Republicans wanted complete capitulation on divisive social agenda to balance budget

In the last post, we talked about the debt-laden revenue offers from Republican leaders.  Now, we find out what Republicans wanted in return for those revenues — the entire laundry list of Republican social policy.  You can read the entire list at the link, but here’s a few of the more notable provisions:

  • Collective bargaining “reform” in public schools
  • Stem cell research restrictions
  • Ban of abortions after 20 weeks
  • No state funding of abortion
  • Voter ID
  • “15 by 15” bill
  • Prevailing wage reform
  • Tort reform
  • Acceptance of the Republican redistricting plan

Republicans just can’t help themselves, it seems.  They talk about being concerned about the budget and spending, but when push comes to shove, it’s always about their divisive social agenda.  When faced with the prospect of a potential government shutdown, Republicans put these issues ahead of the serious financial issues we face as a state.

State Government Shutdown: What’s Open and What’s Closed [UPDATED]

Here’s a quick summary of what’s open and what’s closed under the state government shutdown:


    • Courts at all levels
    • Drivers license renewals, license tabs and plates are available at county offices
    • K-12 schools, MnSCU and the University of Minnesota
    • Medical Assistance, Minnesota Care, food stamps, welfare payments, child support payments, and child protective services
    • DNR enforcement of hunting and fishing laws
    • Veterans homes
    • State Patrol and the State Prison System
    • Stillwater Lift Bridge
    • Unemployment payments
    • [UPDATE 7/2]  The Minnesota Zoo has won the right in court to stay open during the shutdown.  The Zoo will reopen on Sunday, July 3.


  • New drivers license applications and driving tests
  • Child care assistance
  • Services for the deaf
  • Senior and disability linkage lines
  • Criminal background checks
  • State-supported food shelves
  • Most professional licensing
  • Highway rest areas
  • Historical sites operated by the Minnesota Historical Society including Fort Snelling and the Mill City Museum
  • Issuance of hunting and fishing licenses
  • Military tuition reimbursement
  • Veterans outreach offices
  • Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park
  • State Lottery
  • State Parks
  • Tax refunds
  • Road construction

Let me get this straight, Speaker Zellers

Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers on why they couldn’t accept Gov. Mark Dayton’s last offer:

We will not saddle our children and grandchildren with mounds of debts, with promises for funding levels that will not be there in the future.  This is debt that they can’t afford. It’s debt that we can’t afford right now.

Let’s look at what the last Republican budget compromise offer consisted of:

  • An additional K-12 education funding shift ($700 million)
  • Issuing bonds against future tobacco settlement payments (estimated at about $300 million)

Both of these compromises are debt-based solutions to the budget problem. 

Say what you will about Gov. Dayton’s desire for more spending versus Republican proposals, he at least provides a revenue stream to support it.  The Republican plan would tack on additional debt to future budget cycles, and continue the Pawlentyesque tradition of kicking the can down the road with gimmicks and one-time changes.

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