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
In Budget Gridlock, Minnesota Shuts Down
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)

(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.

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“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. (Read more Minnesota stories.)

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