Dayton offers plan to end shutdown

After months holding out for a tax increase of some kind, Mark Dayton is telling Republican legislators that he'll accept their budget plan with no new taxes. In a letter to Republican leadership, Dayton says he still doesn't like the plan, but feels GOP legislators have left him with no choice.

"I am willing to agree to something I do not agree with -- your proposal -- in order to spare our citizens and our state further damage," Dayton wrote.

But state workers shouldn't start celebrating the end of the shutdown yet. Dayton's agreement, which came in a letter to GOP leadership, comes with a few conditions that would be tough for the GOP to swallow.

Dayton's letter, addressed to Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, tries to give and take some blame for the state shutdown, now in its 14th day.

But at least he's trying: Dayton claims that he's the only one coming out with new plans since the shutdown ended.

"During that time, I have made additional compromise proposals to resolve our budget impasse, which you have immediately rejected. Astonishingly, I have not received a single new proposal from you during that entire time."

So, with no new plans, he says he's forced to stick to the old one. That means Dayton is abandoning his desperate pleas to raise taxes -- the Republicans, he writes with exasperation, have rejected even raising taxes on the highest 0.3 percent of earners in the state.

First, Dayton says Republicans must drop any and all policy attachments to the state budget.

Next, he's rejecting the GOP's "arbitrary 15%, across the board" cut of employees in state agencies.

Finally, he says he'll only go along with the plan if the legislature passes something Republicans have called a no-go for months -- a $500 million bonding bill to "put people back to work throughout Minnesota."

Dayton ends the letter by saying that from this moment, he and his staff are available to meet "around the clock" to make the deal work. Your move, GOP.

Read the entire letter below.

GMD 7.14.11 Letter to Speaker and Majority Leader

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