Minnesota lawmakers pass budget bills, shutdown near an end

08:45, July 21, 2011      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The House and Senate of the U.S. state of Minnesota passed a package of spending bills Wednesday morning, giving hope a 20-day government shutdown will end soon.

The bills still need the approval of Governor Mark Dayton, who has indicated he will sign them soon.

The state legislature held a special session starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday to work on 12 budget bills to fund the state government for the two-year period beginning July 1. Legislators worked through the night and early into the morning before passing all the bills.

The budget plan eliminates a 5-billion-dollar projected two-year budget deficit through a mix of spending cuts, deferred payments to schools and borrowing against tobacco payments.

The budget blueprint does not raise taxes, which Dayton previously insisted upon but Republicans were adamantly against.

"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," said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel.

Some critics said the compromise was only a short-term solution and played accounting tricks, as it would balance the state budget mostly by postponing payments to schools and borrowing from the future.

Due to the budget impasse, a wide range of government agencies, except those considered critical, in the midwestern state have been closed since July 1.

Roughly 23,000 of 36,000 state employees were furloughed, adding to state expenditure on unemployment and health insurance benefits.

The shutdown also resulted in unpaid state parks fees and reduced revenue from the tolled highway express lanes. The suspension of lottery sales, horse-race tracks and some construction projects will also erode the state revenue.

Source: Xinhua
  Weekly review  


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Flood continues in many parts of India
  • Hillary Clinton says U.S. bets on building strong relationship with India
  • Summer military training toughens up students
  • Cameron names investigation panel on phone hacking scandal
  • Chinese president pledges further political, economic ties with Cameroon
  • Samsung's 2nd tablet PC launched in Seoul
Hot Forum Discussion