Minnesota gov't shutdown finally over (for real, this time)

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July 20, 2011


By David Godow

St. Paul, Minnesota:

After a tense week that saw a nascent compromise between Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislators nearly collapse, it appears Minnesota's government will very soon re-open for business. After a harrowing evening session on Tuesday that kept legislators working until 3am, Dayton signed a dozen spending bills that officially ended the shutdown.[1]

Still, it's unlikely that relief will be immediate for impatient Minnesotans who have waited three weeks to visit state parks, renew licenses or apply for permits. According to state officials, an immense backlog of mail, applications and requests need to be processed, work which itself could last as long as the shutdown.

As for the long-term political effects of the shutdown itself, it's unlikely either side will be able to claim a firm victory. Governor Dayton was compelled to give up his demand for new taxes on high earners (something he originally campaigned on), while Republicans ultimately approved $1.4 billion more in spending than they had wanted, with a plethora of new borrowing and a smattering of accounting tricks to pay for it. Given the short-term nature of today's compromise -- a deal financed by debt and delaying payments to local school districts -- it's likely the threat of shutdown will arise once again during the next phase of budget wrangling in summer 2013.

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