Sunday, July 3, 2011

Minnesota govt. shutdown threatens US

A note at the entrance of the Minnesota State Capital announces its closure in Saint Paul, Minnesota, July 1, 2011

Source: Press TV

The Minnesota state government in the US has shut down after lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement before a deadline and the situation may spread to other US states.

As a result of the budget dispute, some 23,000 of roughly 36,000 state employees have been laid off without a pay for the near future.

Further, the Minnesota Zoo and state parks will be closed over the weekend and highway projects have been stalled, the day before the US Independence Day, which might cause public outrage.

The Minnesota state government runs a USD 5 billion deficit and the agreement for the budget was meant to be decided on by Thursday midnight.

Democrats have said that Republicans would rather protect Minnesota's richest from tax hikes than to take care of the majority of the people.

Republicans on the other hand would rather cut spending.

Meanwhile, the state's working class is the ones suffering from the dispute.

The dispute will further mean that the state will lose millions of dollars in revenue till it gets settled, and expenses will increase for every week that the shutdown of the state government remains.

Further talks will not take place till after the holidays, and angry Minnesotans have already protested the government shutdown.

Similar disputes are predicted to take place in other state capitals as well, where Republicans have already refused tax hikes for the rich.

The new Republican governors in Florida and New Jersey have already cut state programs and employee benefits.

Last week the US President Barack Obama also called for tax increases for the country's upper class as a means to curb the country's growing debt and to ease the budget deficit.

The US government currently runs a USD 1.5 trillion budget deficit.

Further, what has now happened in Minnesota could happen on a national scale if the debt ceiling is not raised on August 2. The US officially hit its USD 14.3 trillion debt ceiling on May 16. It has been said that the US government could potentially default on its debts on August 2, if the debt ceiling remains unchanged.

Congress has already voted ten times to raise the debt limit since 2001.

Moreover, public debt now stands at USD 14.3 trillion, up from USD 10.6 trillion when Obama took office in 2009.

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