MN Government Shutdown: What Happened And What's Next?

By KBJR News 1

MN Government Shutdown: What Happened And What's Next?

July 1, 2011 Updated Jul 1, 2011 at 5:49 PM CST

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Minnesota went into its second government shutdown in six years Friday, as the two political parties failed to compromise on a budget deal by the midnight deadline.

The divide over how to best erase the state's $5 billion dollar deficit revolved around the Republican's unwillingness to raise taxes, and Governor Mark Dayton's unwillingness to make major spending cuts.

LeAnn Wallace has the latest.

Any hope of a last–minute budget deal between Governor Dayton and Republican legislative leaders came to a quick end Thursday night around 10 p.m...when the Governor announced the two sides were still divided on how to balance the budget and that a shutdown was imminent.

The governor said the GOP shot–down two last minute proposals that would increase taxes only on people who make more than $1 million dollars a year.

Republicans responded to the media soon afterward, saying they were surprised that the governor threw in the negotiation towel with two hours left before the budget deadline.

They said they were closer to coming to a budget agreement than the governor admitted.

"The Republicans rejected those two proposals as they have every proposal that involves raising tax revenues from any source what so ever. Instead they would prefer to protect the richest handful of Minnesotans at the expense of everyone else. Even at the expense of a state government shutdown," said Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.

"The governor is the richest guy that I know and it's not about that at all. It's about the spending for us," said Republican Sen. Amy Koch.

"We compromised with the governor. We actually looked at a number of these issue areas and came within a few thousand dollars let alone a million dollars," said Republican Rep. Kurt Zellers, Speaker of the House.

The shutdown means thousands of layoffs, a standstill for road projects and padlocked state parks just ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

The effects were already being felt hours ahead of the deadline, as people flooded gas stations and the DMV Thursday to get fishing and drivers licenses. State park officials were busy telling campers they had to pack up and leave.

Protesters filled the Capitol grounds Thursday, pleading for a compromise in order to avoid what ultimately turned into a government shutdown and they were back Friday lamenting the inability of the parties to reach a compromise.

The shutdown in 2005 lasted just eight days, but the two sides weren't as far apart on the issues as the current governor and legislative leaders.

The GOP presented the governor with a 'lights on' bill that would keep core services funded but only for the next ten days.