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Gov. Dayton files response to the petition of Attorney General related to possible government shutdown

June 15, 2011

Today, Governor Mark Dayton filed a response to the petition of the Attorney General in Ramsey County District Court, related to a possible government shutdown, and released the following statement:
 
“It is with a heavy heart that I submitted today to Ramsey County District Court my list of those state services which should be continued in the event of a July 1st shutdown and, by their omission, those many services which should not.  I consider virtually all services provided by the state to be essential, and all of them have been established by previous governors and legislatures to serve and benefit people throughout Minnesota.
 
“My decisions were not based upon personal preferences or policy considerations.  Rather, they were instructed by the words of the Minnesota Constitution, which I took an oath of office to uphold, and ensuing case law.  Agency heads, their staffs, and the staff at the MN Department of Management and Budget and the Governor’s Office have spent many hours developing these recommendations.
 
“The Minnesota Constitution states unequivocally: “No money shall be paid out of the treasury of this state except in pursuance of an appropriation by law.” (Article XI, Sect. 1.)  Thus my decisions were based entirely upon which functions of state government are so critical to the protection of the lives and safety of the people of Minnesota, or which would cause disorder or severe statewide economic impact, that they should be made exceptions to this clear prohibition.
 
“Importantly, my brief first asks the Court to order Legislative Leaders and me to engage in mediation to help us resolve our differences before July 1st to avoid a shutdown.  My evaluation of critical services has persuaded me even more deeply that a shutdown would have catastrophic consequences for a great many people throughout our state.  I remain fully committed to doing everything I can to reach a balanced compromise with the Legislature on a fair and balanced budget before July 1st in order to avoid a shutdown.”
 
Attached is the Governor’s response to the Attorney General’s petition, as well as Exhibits A and B, also submitted to the Court. 
 
Exhibit A outlines recommended statewide objectives, in case of a potential Minnesota government shutdown, and was prepared by the Statewide Contingency Response Team, chaired by Commissioner Jim Schowalter. 
 
Exhibit B lists recommended priority one and priority two critical services which are recommended to continue to protect the life and safety of the people of Minnesota, in case of a government shutdown.