Could state workers sign the adoption forms for a Minnesota couple who had been sitting in a Texas motel room with their new baby for the last week, unable to cross state lines without the paperwork? (“So our petition would be, um, could we please come home?” the woman asked the ad hoc court on Friday in the latest such hearing, conducted, in her case, by speakerphone.)
In Minnesota, carrying out a shutdown — and a relatively ordinary one, as these things go — has turned out to be a whole new, time-consuming government function, including convening the special hearings to weigh exceptions to the shutdown rules. The costs of closing (who knew it cost money to halt spending?) are themselves swiftly rising.
By the end of last week, there were other hints of financial repercussions for the state. Fitch Ratings lowered the state’s bond rating, noting the budget impasse, meaning that it will be more expensive for the state to borrow money.
In the end, the bond markets matter more than most other actors in these interactions. And they get to move last.