Reboot from the MN shutdown: Important RFP and big changes to state IT and procurement

Deltek Sr. Analyst Chris Cotner reports.

The history

If you read my previous blogs (here, and here ), you already know that Minnesota has been through the ringer with its government shutdown. In fact, the 20-day stoppage was the longest in U.S. history. The standoff ended on July 20, 2011, when the governor finally signed the budget (I predicted the deal on July 19 in my previous blog – pretty close).

The state needed to solve a budget deficit of $3.4 billion to $5 billion, depending on the source. However, all sources agreed that after the first round of legislative budget wars, there was a $1.4 billion gap between the Republican and Democratic plans that needed to be closed. The Republicans suggested deeper cuts, but also suggested borrowing more from future budgets (K-12 schools) and receipts (tobacco). Governor Dayton wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans and cut less.

The result was a plan with big compromises from both sides. “I’m not particularly happy with this budget I’ve just signed into law … I signed it because otherwise Minnesota wouldn’t go back to work,” Dayton said.

My recap and analysis below includes the political fallout, important procurement changes, and major IT implications coming out of the turmoil.

The anger

Voters in the state are angry, and the political turmoil will have definitive consequences considering both sides expended precious capital in the battle.

One Democrat voter said, “Let’s vote them all out because they just can’t even work together.” A Republican voter indicated similar distaste: “Their deal is to financially manage the state, which clearly means they didn’t do their jobs.”

University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs also had a say in the matter. “The legislators are going to be first exposed to what might be rageful voters looking to punish politicians who contributed to the shutdown,” he predicted.

Former Lt. Governor candidate and writer Annette Meeks also believes 2012 “will be the Wild West of elections” for Minnesota.

Former Minnesota Representative Matt Entenza summed up the problem as bitter partisan politics in the state. “In Minnesota politics, we’ve moved backwards, and now we’re to a point where compromise is a dirty word. You hear a lot of politicians say, ‘Well, I can’t compromise because if I compromise, the voters who I listen to are going to be mad at me.’ And that makes for a state in a lot of gridlock.”

For the complete blog, go here.

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