Minnesota state government shuts down over budget impasse
St. Paul, MN, United States
July 1, 2011 11:44 am EDT
Politics, State Budget And Tax, Politics, Parliament, Politics, Government
State budget talks between Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders broke down just before the midnight deadline Thursday and the government has shut down.
Minnesota has about a $5 billion shortfall in the budget.
Dayton repeated his request for lawmakers to tax the very rich along with cutting spending to close the gap. The governor proposed raising income taxes only on about 1 percent of taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year. However, GOP lawmakers refused.
Republican state legislators counter that long-term debt is harmful and needs to be reduced.
The budget impasse meant that on the Friday before the July 4 holiday, state parks are closed along with the zoo and rest stops along the highway. Road construction has halted. Most state offices are closed.
However, critical agencies such as the state court and prison system, the Minnesota State Patrol and emergency and disaster agencies remain open.
Although it will not sell fishing licenses, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on its website said it would continue some critical services. Those services include conservation law enforcement; water treatment; bison herd care; hatchery maintenance and tree nursery care; Soudan mine maintenance; pathology lab testing; dam safety and operations; dike-water control structure management; incident command team; including disaster response coordination and support for critical services.
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