Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sen. Ortman Update – June 24, 2011


Dear Friends,

The message is clear! It's time to get this budget completed. A state shutdown is the absolute worst case scenario, and no one wants to see that occur. We are working day in and day out to effectively engage the Governor, have meaningful negotiations, and find consensus on the state budget. I am just as concerned as each and every one of you about the negative impacts on state workers and the many others who depend on state funding, if an agreement is not reached.

The truth is, only Governor Dayton has the power to call a special session. He has been asked many times to call us back, which at the very least would enable us to pass a "lights-on" bill to avoid a shutdown and continue negotiations. As of today, with only 6 days until July 1, time is running out. Unfortunately, the Governor's signals indicate that he is striving to shut down the government in order to further inflate our State's budget. He strategically vetoed the Legislature's complete balanced budget package after the 2011 Session deadline, and he has yet to call a special session to enact a compromise budget or even a "lights-on" bill.

In the meantime, we have been trying to have meaningful negotiations with the Governor and his staff. Multiple offers have been presented to the Governor on the budget. These include meeting 100% of his Education funding requests, 100% of his court funding requests, and 98% of his public safety budget request. So far, the Governor has shown no interest in passing these bills and moving forward on the rest of the budget.

Make no mistake; a government shutdown would represent a terrible failure of the system. We passed and presented the governor with a balanced budget that lives within our means and provides a ground work for future job growth and a new prosperity.

The Governor's proposed tax increase is both unnecessary and counterproductive to future economic growth and prosperity. Our focus needs to be on things we can agree on and I am committed to negotiating with the Governor and finding common ground. I remain confident that it will be found.


1. Governor Dayton needs to act quickly to call a special session in order to prevent a government shutdown.

He is the only one with the power to call a special session, necessary for the

Legislature to get back to work and avoid a shut down. So far, the Governor has shown no interest.

2. Governor Dayton claims a tax increase will only affect the "Top 2%."

A Department of Revenue study shows that a tax increase proposal will impact all income earners in the State of Minnesota, especially small business.

3. A recent KSTP poll released on June 20 states that 87% of Minnesotans want state spending to decrease or stay the same. Only 8% support an increase in state spending.

4. The Legislature passed a balanced budget and made it publicly available for the Governor and all citizens of Minnesota to review.

- A budget which increased overall state spending by 6%

- A budget which raises $4 billion more in revenue than Minnesota's previous budget

- A budget which does not raise taxes.

5. Serious offers have been presented to Governor including:

Offering the Governor 100% of his funding requests for Education.

Offering the Governor 100% of his funding requests for the courts.

Offering the Governor nearly 100% of his funding requests for public safety.

Giving up $200 million in tax relief proposals and applying them to spending areas of the budget.


A website has been launched with messages to Governor Dayton to call lawmakers back to work to prevent an unnecessary government shutdown. The website features messages from leaders and new messages are being added continuously. The site is also available at


Legislative leaders agreed to all-day meetings Friday and Saturday. The plan is to focus on budget areas where there is significant consensus with the governor, such as K-12 education and transportation funding, and work out agreements on those first. Governor Dayton has frequently stated that he wants a deal on new revenue before discussing individual budget bills, but legislative leadership and Governor Dayton have agreed to this negotiation plan.

If held in good faith, this meeting is long overdue and very positive development.


KSTP-TV updated SurveyUSA poll information Tuesday, June 21 with a new story from Capitol reporter Tom Hauser focusing on poll questions about state spending, specifically results to the question "Going forward, should Minnesota's government increase spending? Decrease spending? Or continue to spend about the same amount as it has been?"

Results were: 60% Decrease, 27% About the Same, 8% Increase, 5% Not Sure. Hauser reminded viewers that neither the Governor's proposal or the plan passed by the GOP Legislature cut spending, but had the state stayed on "autopilot" spending would have increased by 29%. Said Hauser: "Most Minnesotans agree, that just shouldn't happen."

Watch online at

Thank you for staying in touch with calls, e-mails and letters to my Senate office. Your input truly does shape our conversations at the Capitol. I welcome your comments and feedback, and I encourage you to stay in touch as we work to resolve the budget.



Julianne Ortman

State Senator, District 34

Proudly Serving the Residents of Carver and Scott Counties