Government Shutdown Inches Closer: Protests Flood Capitol

By KBJR News 1

June 30, 2011 Updated Jun 30, 2011 at 8:02 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- On the eve of a state government shutdown...droves of protesters filled the Capitol grounds in Saint Paul. As legislative leaders continue their cone of silence during last minute budget talks, protesters were anything but silent.

LeAnn Wallace has been following the impending government shut down. Among those state capital protesters was a group of Duluthians who hopped a bus for St. Paul early this morning.

It was a day of protest in Saint Paul.

While Legislative Leaders and Governor Mark Dayton are keeping their last minute budget talks close to the vest...These Minnesotans were letting it all out.

"We are appalled that the legislature has failed to balance the state budget and that they have settled to simply shutdown."

A group of Duluthians are among those voicing their dismay with the potential shutdown.

Wearing grey as a sign of unity, they hopped a bus to join in on the action.

"And because the grey area of indecision is slowly becoming our shared experience of Duluth."

The protesters included representatives from the CHUM Center, The United Way of Greater Duluth, and Life House...all organizations that would be affected if the two sides can't come to an agreement.

"Today we gather to say that a budget decision must be reached that protects all of Minnesota's citizens and asks everybody to pay their fair share."

"Some of our agencies that we're hearing will be able to last for a month; some are having to lay off staff people right away."

"When we, as adults, drop the ball because we can't get along...the adults are the ones that do not suffer... our kids are the ones that lose this game."

While the protesters come from different backgrounds, and a shutdown would affect them all differently, the message was the same: find a compromise, avoid a shutdown.

"An all cuts budget would be devastating, what we need now is compromise so that we can move forward and continue to make our state better."

The main sticking point of disagreement this entire time has revolved around taxes and new revenues. Governor Dayton's budget proposal included a tax hike for some of the state's top wage earners...while the Republicans have stood firm in their stance of no new taxes.

No word yet on when of if they'll reach a budget deal by midnight. Check back here for the very latest.