Shutdown could end today

Mark Dayton has called for a special session of the legislature to meet at 3 p.m. this afternoon. With a fast-track vote, Minnesota's shutdown might be over before happy hour.

The legislature will try to pass all nine budget bills and Dayton's requested $500 million bonding bill all at once. The moment Dayton's signature hits the bill, Minnesota will be back up and running.

Now in its 19th day, the shutdown is by far the longest state government shutdown in modern U.S. history. For the entire month of July, the state government has turned the state parks over to the bears, surrendered broken-down highways to the sweltering heat and left 22,000 state employees out of work.

To get to this point, Dayton had to concede on tax hikes for the rich, his main issue since becoming governor, while Republicans have agreed to his $500 million bonding bill to fund construction projects. This no-tax, yes-spend solution is great news for millionaires and construction workers, and a nightmare for economists.

Dayton also demanded Republicans slice any policy riders off the bill, and ditch their plan to cut 15 percent of employees across all state agencies.

Minnesota Public Radio has a look at a couple facets of the budget, including the Judiciary and Public Safety omnibus bill. In its present form, that budget means cuts to some programs like legal aid, but still gives an increase to funding for public defenders.

The transportation bill has a steep, $52 million cut for metro transit programs, but that's still a much smaller cut than the GOP had originally planned.

In other words, Dayton and the GOP may finally have found the middle ground. Now they just need to find the "Yay" button on their voting machines, and they'll finally shutdown the Shutdown.


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