Minnesota yet to feel full impact of government shutdown

People look through the windows of the of the Driver and Vehicle Services Office, which is closed as the state is expected to begin the broadest shutdown of state services in its history July 1, 2011 in Saint Paul, Minn.

Steve Chiotakis: In Minnesota, a budget fight there between the Democratic governor and Republican state legislature has the state government shut down. Twelve days in and there's no sign of a deal to fix the state budget. Twenty-two thousand state workers are out of work for now. But the Minnesota government can't shutdown forever. So what's the tipping point?

Here's Marketplace's Jeff Horwich.


Jeff Horwich: The Democratic governor and Republican legislature look as far apart as ever on whether taxes should help fix a $5 billion deficit.

Meanwhile, it's not like life stands still for most Minnesotans. Critical functions like highway patrol, health services and even the zoo are still open. But political scientist Steve Smith says the inconveniences are mounting: like trouble getting a building inspection or a driver's license.

Steve Smith: All of which is survivable for a couple of weeks, but much of which creates really impossible difficulties for people after a month or so.

In the private sector, the shutdown is steadily taking a toll on road construction firms and nonprofits -- almost anyone who gets state money. Michael Kuchta chairs a group that runs computer classes for immigrants.

Michael Kuchta: At this point, it looks like we're losing about $24,000 a month. We believe we have enough cash to get us through July.

If public pressure doesn't tip things by then, look to the end of summer: the state fair and back-to-school ought to focus voter anger.

In St. Paul, I'm Jeff Horwich for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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