Published On: Fri, Jul 15th, 2011

Minnesota Shutdown Sees Light At The End Of The Tunnel

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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republicans struck a deal Thursday to end a budget impasse that prompted the state government to shut down, with the Democratic governor giving up on raising taxes.

The agreement came after a three-hour negotiating session that followed Dayton’s announcement of his offer earlier in the day. If details are worked out and approved by state legislators, it would end the shutdown over how to resolve a $5 billion deficit that has lasted two weeks so far.

Minnesota Shutdown Sees Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Dayton said the government would be back in business “very soon,” but didn’t say exactly when.

The two sides agreed on a proposal that would raise $1.4 billion in new revenue, half by delaying state aid checks to school districts and the other half by selling tobacco payment bonds. It was a big sacrifice by Dayton, who had made new income taxes a central plank in his campaign last year and the centerpiece of his budget.

Republicans said they agreed to drop a list of policy changes and a plan to cut the state workforce by 15 percent.

“It was about making sure that we get a deal that we can all be disappointed in, but a deal that is done, a budget that was balanced, a state that was back to work,” said Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who appeared with Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch after the private meeting.

The glum looks on their faces testified to a hard bargain

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