Dayton, GOP Finally Reach Budget Deal To End Shutdown
Both sides made sure to say they got something in this deal, so they can tell their respective parties they didn’t back down. Either way, the good news is it appears the end of the shutdown is coming in a matter of days.
After weeks of crippling political deadlock, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders emerged in the darkened Capitol on Thursday to announce they had brokered a budget deal to end the longest state government shutdown in U.S. history.
The deal raises the revenue Dayton sought — $1.4 billion — but without raising taxes, which Republicans opposed. Instead, it reaches back to an earlier GOP offer to rely primarily on more borrowing from schools and from the sale of tobacco bonds. The House and Senate could return in special session to vote on a final budget as early as Monday or Tuesday.
Dayton and legislators said they plan to work “around the clock” through the weekend to fine-tune details and call a special session. State government would be able to start back up as soon as bills are passed and signed.
Dayton acknowledged the deal “certainly doesn’t put us in a better situation, but the real solution for Minnesota and the nation is for the state and national economy to improve and put more people to work and, therefore, paying taxes.
“No one is going to be happy with this, which is the essence of a real compromise,” he said as the deal was announced.
Dayton shocked some Democrats and other supporters earlier in the day when he said he was dropping his push to raise taxes on high earners and instead would accept a June 30 GOP offer that featured a $700 million money shift from K-12 school spending and roughly $700 million in tobacco revenue bonds.
Dayton’s move means the deepest cuts in services will be averted, but it abandoned his campaign goal of balancing the budget by raising taxes on high earners.
He will also be able to claim credit for preserving thousands of state jobs by forcing Republicans to drop a proposed 15 percent reduction in state workers and for a $500 million bonding proposal that will kick-start private sector jobs. Dayton further got Republicans to eliminate controversial social policies from spending bills.
For their part, Republicans can tell constituents they honored their campaign pledge to oppose tax increases.