Sunday, July 03, 2011

Devastating Upshot to Government Shutdown in Minnesota: Cancelled Camping Trips

Yes, things are getting pretty grim in Minnesota, as the state enters Day 3 of its government shutdown. Bad enough that state camping grounds are closed. Soon we'll be hearing reports of citizens resorting to backyard barbeques, frisbee catches or even taking in a Twins game to pass the time this holiday weekend.

What a nightmare!
(Reuters) - Tara and Jose Garcia wanted to spend the holiday weekend camping with their four children.

But a Minnesota government shutdown prevented them from pitching a tent at a state park. So they checked out county campgrounds, only to find those parks overflowing with people.

"It's bulls--t," said Tara Garcia of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. "I am just feeling, 'Are you kidding? C'mon!'"

So the Garcias parked their minivan at Ft. Snelling, a state historical site nestled on the edge of the Mississippi River, just outside Minneapolis. That too was closed. They wandered the desolate paths anyway, with nerf guns in hand and a gaggle of kids, all under age 8.

After Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders failed to reach agreement on a $5 billion budget deficit Thursday, state offices, parks, highway rest areas and a state zoo were shuttered. In addition, 22,000 government workers were hit with layoff notices.

When negotiations broke down, the two sides were about $1.4 billion apart with Democrats insisting on a tax increase for the rich and Republicans strongly opposed. The partisan impasse angered many people.

"You have a job to do, figure out how to do your job," said Laura Sandquist, 27, of Bloomington, Minnesota, who was at Ft. Snelling with her husband. The pair were not there to visit, but to unload their bikes and go for a ride along the river.

Jeff Sandquist, also 27, did not think the shutdown would actually happen. "It's mean," he said. "I'm sure they are both to blame."

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