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January 05, 2011 09:55 PM

MN Hopes Lawmakers Can Fix $6 Billion Shortfall

Worthington, MN

Minnesota's political landscape has undergone some big changes.

The state has its first Democratic governor in twenty years and Republicans control both the House and the Senate for the first time in nearly 40 years. This new political dynamic involving Governor Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers has some Minnesotans concerned about gridlock in the face of a looming budget crisis.

The lunch time conversation in Worthington, Minnesota has shifted from the wintry weather to the political winds blowing at the state capitol.

"I kind of think there's going to be a problem there," Connie Geertsema of Round Lake, MN said.

Minnesotans hope their new Democratic governor and the Republican-dominated legislature can set aside political differences to plug a $6-billion hole in the state's budget.

"I think if they worked together it'd be okay, but I suppose there could be some conflict, too, I don't know," LaVonne Isder of Round Lake, MN said.

"You got a lot of new people in there and they need to realize that they need to work together. So let's just throw party lines out and let's just work together, said Don Majerus of Lakefield, MN.

Taxpayers hope the state can get its financial house in order because the economy has taken such a toll on households everywhere.

"My health insurance went up and then my social security went down, now that don't make any sense," Geertsema said.

Some Minnesotans think the state's budget problems can't be solved by cuts alone. They expect taxes will go up, as well.

"Nobody wants to spend more. But if you want certain services you've got to realize that those services require funding and to have that quality of life, you're going to have to bite the bullet and write the check," Majerus said.

Taxpayers say the budget will require more than a one-year fix. So patience and prudence will be required of lawmakers in the coming weeks making tough choices that will impact all Minnesotans.

"We're pretty adaptable in this state, so I think we kind of role with the punches pretty good," Majerus said.

Despite Minnesota's budget problems, some taxpayers expect a deal to get worked out on a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings football team this session. They say the deal should include private money to help build the stadium.


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