Minn. Leaders Strike Budget Deal, End Shutdown

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Minnesota lawmakers have finally reached the outline of a deal to end the longest shutdown in state history.

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

The battle bore an eerie resemblance to the one now playing out in Washington, D.C.

On one side, Minnesota's democratic Gov. Mark Dayton wanted to raise taxes on the rich. On the other side were Republicans who refused to support any tax hikes.

In the end, the governor didn't get any new taxes.

"I'm disappointed I wasn't able to persuade the majority to the wisdom of my approach to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans," Dayton said.

"But I have three and a half years left to my term, and I'll continue to try to make my case to Minnesota," he said.

Republicans were also less than pleased. Minnesota's top three top budget negotiators departed the governor's office on Thursday with the frame-work of a deal that included more spending than the GOP wanted.

"We have a framework agreement I guess is the best way to look at it," Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

Republicans managed to win their push not to raise taxes, and lawmakers still found a way to get the $1.4 billion the governor wanted for spending.

Some of the money will come from education and the rest from the sale of bonds tied to tobacco lawsuit settlement funds.

"It's about making sure we had a deal that we all can be disappointed in. But it's a deal that is done, a budget that will be balanced, a state that will be back to work," GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers said.

In the end, both sides agreed that while compromise brought disappointment, it also brought the state's longest shutdown in history to an end.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.