Budget Deal to End Minnesota Government Shutdown

Posted July 15th, 2011 at 7:30 am (UTC-5)
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The Democratic governor of Minnesota has reached a budget agreement with leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature that would end a two-week-old state government shutdown — one of the longest in recent U.S. history.

Governor Mark Dayton announced the agreement Thursday, after a meeting with state House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. The deal is aimed at erasing a $5 billion deficit.

Under the deal, the governor agreed to abandon his efforts to raise income taxes on wealthy Minnesotans, and conceded to Republican demands to delay payments to local school districts and sell bonds tied to a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies. For their part, Republicans dropped demands on issues such as restricting public funding for stem cell research, while agreeing to raise millions of dollars in bond sales to fund public works.

The impasse led to the shutdown of state parks, halted construction projects and ordinary state business, and idled more than than 22,000 state employees.