Minn. Budget Passage Assures End to Shutdown

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The 20-day government shutdown in Minnesota, the longest in the state's history, is all but over.

Following a special legislative session that began Tuesday and lasted through the night, lawmakers approved a budget plan early Wednesday morning that would fund all major state operations.

The three-week stalemate closed state parks, cut off funding for many social services, and temporarily put 22,000 state employees out of work.

In the end, after much political wrangling, Gov. Mark Dayton agreed to forego the tax hikes he'd requested and Republicans agreed to fewer spending cuts.

"While the budget agreement was not the most ideal to anyone, it was time to compromise, end the shutdown, and put Minnesota back to work," Republican Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel said in a statement. 

"I think there are 201 of us plus a governor who would say this isn't our best option on how to proceed, but it is the best option for bringing Minnesota government back to work," Republican state Sen. Julianne Ortman told The Associated Press.

The plan includes nine bills that would together fund all major state operations.
        
Gov. Dayton is expected to approve the legislation Wednesday, and government employees could go back to work as early as this week.

"Everyone will look at this, including ourselves, and say, 'Well, we didn't have this, we don't have that, we have this we don't want, we have that we don't want' - that's just the essence of compromise," Dayton said.

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