Minnesota's DFL (Democratic Farm Labor) Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican controlled legislature are not getting along in the biennial budget sandbox. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Governor Dayton is having his cabinet make plans to shut down non-essential government operations on July 1, if squabbling prevents a new budget from being passed before the end of the current biennium.
Perhaps the most immediate consequence noticeable to the most people would be park closings. Amy Barrett, parks and trails information officer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the July 4 weekend is one of the three busiest of the year in Minnesota parks, the others being Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The state park system earned nearly $1 million in revenue to the state in the first week of July 2010, Barrett said.
The parks don't just operate in a vacuum. Many of the larger ones have inspired businesses to spring up nearby that cater to visitors to the area.
Tom Atwood and his wife own Evergreen Gifts and Fun Park, which is in Park Rapids and about 10 miles south of Itasca State Park, one of the state's most popular.
"It certainly would not help at all," Atwood said of the prospect of the park being closed that weekend. He said they've sunk thousands into improving their establishment's offerings this summer after a tough time last summer thanks to the economy and road construction in the area.
"Now with gas prices we're worried, and if there's a shutdown ..." Atwood trailed off. "It won't help. It won't be good."
Earlier today I posted about the Eau Claire fourth-graders going on a field trip to the Minnesota capitol in St. Paul. It is good they are getting that trip now, while the getting's good!
(One of my two wonderful Eau Claire sisters-in-law emailed me after the earlier post to make sure I hadn't missed the irony that the fourth-grade social science curriculum into which the kids' field trip is tied is Wisconsin History.)