The GOP’s opposition to tax hikes for the rich is about to send 36,000 workers packing.
UPDATE: Minnesota’s state government shut down late Thursday night after talks between Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-dominated legislature collapsed. The GOP rejected Dayton’s proposal to plug a $5-billion budget hole by raising taxes on those earning more than $1 million. Republican legislators “prefer to protect the richest handful of Minnesotans at the expense of everyone else,” Dayton said.
Original story follows below
Imagine if every generation in your family had a history of gainful employment with the same company, which was renowned all over the state for having better wages, hours, and benefits than any other employer. While you were growing up, maybe your parents and grandparents encouraged you to work for the same company, because they knew it would pay you fairly for the hours you put in, and that it would take care of you after retirement. Now, imagine that the same employer has shut down indefinitely, meaning that you and 36,000 others are now on the streets with nowhere to go.
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, that employer is the state of Minnesota. At 5 p.m. today, the state of Minnesota is laying off tens of thousands of loyal employees, all of them victims of the same obstructionist politicking that pollutes Washington.
Just as congressional Republicans are threatening to bring about another crippling recession by forcing the U.S. to default on the national debt, Minnesota Republicans are refusing to accept any alternative to their cuts-only budget, meaning the entire state government will shut down. Minnesota’s largest employer is about to padlock its doors, and Republicans are willing to take away the livelihoods of 36,000 of their constituents in order to score petty political points.
Gov. Mark Dayton is asking for a modest three per cent tax increase for the wealthiest two per cent of Minnesotans, shifting the tax burden for those earning above $193,687 from 8.1 per cent to 11.1 per cent. This is nothing compared to the tax burden of Minnesotans earning less than $11,201 per year, who already pay 22.1 per cent of their income in taxes. However, the Republican-controlled state legislature stubbornly adheres to president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes” pledge, and is ready to shut the government down so the richest two per cent won’t have to pay even just 10 per cent less, proportionally, than the poorest of the poor.
Starting July 1, a college professor teaching a summer class at a public university won’t have a job to go to. Her students won’t get to complete a class credit, and won’t even have a school to attend.
By the end of the month, during one of the busiest and most prosperous seasons in the American tourism industry, not one state park in Minnesota will be open to host campers, hikers, or sportsmen, ensuring that the state will lose untold millions in revenue.
By the end of the business day on Thursday, June 30, folks who depend on the state of Minnesota for a steady paycheck will be forced to either draw unemployment or depend on the money they saved for retirement to pay the bills and stay fed and clothed.
So, at 5 p.m. today, when the doors of the state capitol are padlocked, U.S. Uncut Minnesota will fight back with sustained, non-violent resistance until obstructionist Republicans accept their governor’s modest, reasonable, necessary tax increase.
After today, 36,000 people in Minnesota won’t have jobs. And, by the next election cycle, Minnesota Republicans will have to explain why they should be able to keep their own jobs while allowing their constituents working in state government to lose theirs. Hopefully, like an elephant, the people never forget.