We sure have seen this movie plenty of times recently. The State of Minnesota is facing a government shutdown due to a budget impasse. The state legislature is trying to close a $5 Billion dollar budget gap. Sound familiar? Greece, Ireland, Spain, the UK, the United States Federal government, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York state, and of course, California. Newly elected Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton, whose family owns the Target retail chain, met today with Republican lawmakers as the state faces a midnight deadline. The story is the same as everywhere else. Spending cuts versus tax increases have been the subject of the budget talks to prevent the Minnesota state shutdown.

Gov. Dayton, a Progressive, wants to tax the rich, which he and his family are members of. The Republicans oppose increasing taxes on people and businesses that create private sector jobs, so they are standing firm demanding spending cuts. The game of chicken gets real at 12:01am CDT Friday, July 1, as the government would have to start shutting down some services. It will be the first shutdown for Minnesota since 2005, which in retrospect, really isn′t all that long ago. Essential services, like public safety, health centers, nursing homes and prisons will remain open. Some 23,000 state workers would face being layoffs as highway rest stops, road construction, the state zoo and government agencies which provide various licenses would close.

In 2005, during the last MN state shutdown, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty was the governor. Some 9,000 state employees were laid off during that showdown as Democrats wanted to spend $1 Billion dollars more than the state had in revenues. The shutdown was actually a partial one, as budget talks bared some fruit as both sides negotiated. Cigarette taxes were increased and health care was reformed, saving the state money. Within eight days, some solutions were worked out. After three weeks, all matters were finally resolved.

So while the State of Minnesota faces a government shutdown again, the question comes to mind how might this impact Tim Pawlenty during his 2012 presidential campaign? Could the MN state shutdown mar his image as someone who claims to have left his state in good financial shape? Or can he point to his own success during the 2005 Minnesota state shutdown as a blueprint for what he can do on a national level in Washington DC? With most recent polls keeping him in the single digits, well behind others who are not even officially running, can T-Paw turn the negative news into a positive spin, boosting his chances for the White House?