October 21, 2020

Residents Of Minnesota Continue To Suffer Because of Shutdown

“As the new fiscal year started on July 1st, Minnesota was forced to shut down a huge portion of it’s government operations due to a financial crisis. Minnesota fell into a similar shutdown situation in 2005, but the effects that this most recent issue is having on residents of the state make the 2005 budget woes look like only the slightest of inconvenience

Some 22,000 employees have already been laid off without any promise of being hired again in the future, and government services and locations are closing down left and right. All state park and rest areas are shut down and funding for 26 museums and historical sites has been entirely cut off, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Although it might seem as if state government financial issues should not directly alter the lives of the residents of that state in such a way, an alarming number of services that many people and families relied on are entirely shut down.

At least 100 road repair/restoration projects have been put on hold throughout the state, and a reported 66 parks will remain closed for an unknown period of time. Concerned citizens calling to ask about government assistance have been receiving only a recorded message explaining that they are closed until further notice: numerous hotlines that provide much needed assistance to senior, deaf and disabled members of the community are simply no longer available. Many hotlines that help Medicare and Medicaid insurance customers in the state of Minnesota are also no longer available, leaving the people who need help the most with nowhere to turn to. The most basic of social security benefits are still available to eligible citizens, but residents of Minnesota will go yet another year without any inflation increase to their Social Security checks, and a large majority of checks have even been temporarily put on hold for the time being.

Tax refund checks will not be issued as long as Minnesota State Tax Court remains closed, and a huge number of state-funded programs that provide aid to the families and individuals that need it the most will be shut down. Parents will no longer receive many of the child care subsidies that they rely on, and a huge majority of government workers in a number of different departments will not be collecting any sort of check this month to provide for their families.

The Department of Natural Resources reported that only 220 to 230 of their approximate 2,500 previous employees will be all that remains after the budget cuts, and all facilities or services managed by the DNR will be closed down until further notice. This includes restrooms, campgrounds, state parks, water, and a number of other basic facilities that many residents regularly use. Some Minnesota DMV offices will be closed for the extent of the financial crisis, and the select locations that remain open will not be offering any driving test services until further notice. The laws surrounding hunting and fishing will still be enforced by state officials, but all registering and renewals of hunting or fishing licenses will be closed.

The entire education department for the state of Minnesota has had it’s funding cut, seriously limiting government funded schools in the amount of resources and staff available. Over $700 million dollars in funding for kindergarten through 12th grade schools in the state has been withheld, and Democratic and Republican state officials have been unable to come up with a solution that will reward the school system with the funding that it is owed. Police and fire department services continue to function as normal after being deemed “”essential to life, health and public safety.”"

The whopping 5 billion Dollar deficit that Minnesota is facing is making it very difficult for state officials to come to any sort of agreement, and business owners in all fields are suffering. At least one billion dollars worth of food that was already in warehouses in Minnesota has not been shipped to grocery stores, and liquor store owners will soon be appearing in court to appeal for alcohol shipments to resume. Democratic and Republican officials continued their political gridlock as no further meetings have been scheduled for the second week of this complete shut down.

Various proposals have been brought to speaking terms,one of which being an increased tax on Minnesota’s 7,700 millionaires, but the majority of these proposals were quickly shot down. One idea that is currently being put into consideration will expand state gambling and place a large casino in downtown Minneapolis.”

Additional resource links:

As of midnight, June 30, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be shutdown due to a state budget impasse

Minnesota’s Budget And Shutdown | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minnesota state government shuts down in budget crisis

Social Security Offices In Minnesota

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