Shutdown ahead?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Even though it will be a few weeks until summer officially arrives, the signs of the season are all around. Schools are dismissed, baseball and softball games of all types are being played, the sound of lawnmowers can be heard at all times of the day and night and the crops are popping out of the ground.

June is a time when the pace of life for many slows down a notch. Vacations are being planned, as are family gatherings. It is a time to gently adjust to the changing season.

It is also the time when state government is finishing out its fiscal year and preparing for the new laws that take effect July 1, the start of the new budget year.

Well, that would be the case if this was a normal year. If it was a normal year, legislators would have been home for over a month and the new budget would have been approved.

This is not a normal year.

There is still no agreement on the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. There is a game of "chicken" being played in Des Moines between Gov. Branstad and his fellow Republicans, who control the House and the Democrats, who control the Senate.

When the session began in January, the governor laid out a spending plan that the state would not spend more that $5.99 billion dollars and would not include the use of one-time monies and would be sustainable, to encourage economic growth.

Naturally, the Democrats who had been in control of the House, Senate and governor's seat for the past four years, were not going to go along with this budget.

Politics is often a game of compromise. You stand on principle until you feel you can't get a better deal. At that point, you either chose to accept the deal or decide that this is the 'hill you want to die on.'

Negotiations have been ongoing since the legislature should have adjourned at the end of April.

The Senate Democrats decided over a week ago to simply walk away, forcing a government shutdown, unless a deal can be reached before July 1.

This is not what we elected our representatives to do. We urge the parties to put differences aside and do their job.