In Budget Gridlock, Minnesota Shuts Down
Dem governor, GOP legislature show no signs of backing down
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2011 6:53 AM CDT
Updated Jul 1, 2011 7:45 AM CDT
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and state Republicans were unable to reach a budget compromise, so the Minnesota government is shutting down, leaving 20,000 state employees out of work.   (AP Photo Kyndell Harkness - STAR TRIBUNE)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Minnesota shut down today, leaving 20,000 state employees without work, and with state Republicans and Democrats unable to wrangle a new budget, it could stay shut down for some time. Minnesota faces a $5 billion deficit on $34 billion in revenues over its next two-year budget cycle—unsurprisingly, new Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, wants to raise some taxes to help close the gap, while Republicans who control the Legislature refuse, reports the New York Times.

“I’m willing to compromise,” said Dayton, who wants to increase income taxes on the wealthiest earners. “I’m willing to meet halfway. But I’m not willing to give up what I believe I was elected by the people of Minnesota to do.” Republicans, of course, disagreed. "You have a group of reformers, you have a group of people who want to create a 21st century budget and what we have come up against is a 1970s tax and spender," says state Sen. Geoff Michel. But many observers think the state will be the biggest loser. “It’s a very sad day for Minnesota," said one political scientist.