Minnesota Government Shutdown Wears On Residents, Businesses
Minnesotans who want to visit a state park, win the lottery, use a roadside restroom or buy a beer down at the local watering hole just have to wait this summer.
On July 1, the government was forced to shutdown due to a budget debate over a $5 billion dollar state deficit which stunted all those state functions listed above.
Seventeen days later, the governor and state legislators are still scrambling, trying to find a way to get the government up and running again without cutting spending or increasing taxes by delaying school payments for K-12 state-funded education and borrowing against future tobacco sales, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
The deal would allow 22,000 furloughed state employees to get back to work, but the band-aid solution would hardly address the long-term implications of the budget deficit, with economic recovery across the country moving at a snail-like pace at best.
In a debate that mirrors that of the U.S. federal government, Republicans don't want to raise taxes and Democrats don't want to cut programs, so the issue reached a stalemate.
The government shutdown has affected residents and businesses statewide as rest areas and state parks were forced to close and state licensing was placed on hold.
That licensing means that any bar, restaurant or liquor store with an expired license to sell alcohol greater than 3.2% has not been able to purchase beer, wine or hard liquor since the shutdown went into effect July 1.
So far, about 300 retailers have been affected and if the shutdown continues past August 1, a worst-case scenario that no one in Minnesota politics wants to see happen, hundreds more retailers will be in trouble.
The license costs only $20 to renew, but without a licensing bureau, the payment and paperwork can not be processed in time to restock.Continued on the next page