The Minnesota Legislature is required to adjourn at midnight tonight – and still has no agreement on how to address the state’s budget deficit. If the impasse continues, it could lead to a government shutdown in July.
Hundreds of public workers will hold an end-of-the-session vigil tonight at the state Capitol, urging lawmakers to agree on a fair budget as they wrap up their final day in session.
Elliot Seide, executive director of Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, says his idea of fairness is a budget that includes a tax hike on the richest 2 percent.
“That would mean 98 percent of Minnesotans would not get a tax increase. Under the Republican plan, we lose 31,000 public and private jobs, and property taxes will increase by 4 1/2 percent.”
Republican leaders backing a different proposal say the government, like everyone else, needs to tighten its belt.
A government shutdown would affect up to 50,000 state workers, Seide says, including 31,000 members of AFSCME and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE). It would impact veterans’ services, transportation, health care, parks and construction, along with the thousands of state workers employed in those areas.
“They need their money to eat, to take care of their kids, to care of their families, just like every Minnesotan, they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.”
Without a budget in place, the impacted state workers will receive layoff notices by June 8.
Tonight’s “We Want to Work for Minnesota” vigil is to begin at 9 p.m. and extend through adjournment. More information on the rally is online at afscmemn.org.