minnesota government shuts down amid budget battle
Last Updated : GMT 03:04:17
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Minnesota government shuts down amid budget battle

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Arab Today, arab today Minnesota government shuts down amid budget battle

Minneapolis - AFP

Minnesota\'s government services were shut down Friday amid a bitter battle over balancing the state\'s budget which mirrors the fight between Democrats and Republicans in Washington. \"This is a night of deep sorrow for me,\" Democratic Governor Mark Dayton said in an address punctuated by hisses and jeers from Republicans after talks imploded late Thursday. More than 23,000 state workers will be affected by the shut down, which will see state parks and highway rest areas closed for the Independence Day holiday weekend. The shut down even affects traffic cameras and the websites of state agencies. Dayton said his last offer would have raised income taxes only on people earning more than $1 million dollars a year - about 7,700 people or 0.3 percent of taxpayers. He said Republicans rejected the proposal because they \"prefer to protect the richest handful of Minnesotans at the expense of everyone else.\" Republican leaders staged a brief sit-in in the legislative chamber Thursday as talks collapsed, demanding that Dayton call a special session to keep the state running. They said they rejected Dayton\'s proposal for addressing a projected $5 billion deficit because it would cause irreparable harm to the state\'s economy. We will not saddle our children and grandchildren with mounds of debts, with promises for funding levels that will not be there in the future,\" said Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers. \"This is debt that they can\'t afford. It\'s debt that we can\'t afford right now.\" However, talks also broke down because Republicans asked Dayton to accept controversial policy positions such as restrictions on access to abortion.

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