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Dayton Says Time Is Running Out

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 7:34 am

Gov. Mark Dayton continues to wrestle with his opposition over taxes and spending in Minnesota’s budget debate, and says a deal must be struck today to avoid any interruption in services. Remember, tomorrow night, a state government shutdown will begin.

Dayton and Republican leaders planned to convene again today, but people are becoming increasingly worried about the shutdown, which would close everything from state park campgrounds to professional licensing offices, road construction zones and highway rest areas.

The governor held out hope that there was still time to head that off through a combination of a budget deal and a Thursday special session to pass temporary spending authority before putting a full budget in place, but he told the media, he realized time was running short.

Republicans told the Associated Press that they could act within hours on big pieces of the budget such as school funding. The governor, who has sole authority to call a special session, repeated that he won’t do so without an overall budget agreement.

Neither side would reveal whether a deal is within reach. They’ve met privately for the past five days under a secrecy pact as the state slides ever closer to its second government closure in six years. None of the members are speaking to the media.

A Ramsey County judge is expected to rule this week on how critical services would be handled in a shutdown.

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