Dayton, GOP reach a budget deal to end the two-week government shutdown
July 14, 2011 — 8:59pm
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders announced Thursday evening they have reached a budget deal to end a two week government shutdown.
After a three-hour meeting with GOP leaders, Dayton said the shutdown will be done “very soon, within days.”
Dayton agreed to drop his insistence on a tax hike and accept the Republican offer to borrow money to balance the budget.
But the governor said the deal must include a $500 million bonding package for new building projects around the state, withdrawal of the divisive social issue proposals now threaded through Republican spending bills, and elimination of the GOP proposal to reduce the state workforce by 15 percent.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said he will have the votes in the House to pass the agreement.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, agreed. “We believe the caucus will ultimately support this.”
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During an MPR interview in front a live audience, Dayton reiterated his support for middle class tax cuts, a big boost in transportation funding and universal prekindergarten during next year's legislative session, all priorities he was unable to achieve in the 2015 session.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto, reeling from a new law allowing counties to hire private audit firms to review their finances, said in a statement she has hired outside counsel "to help me assess the implications of this law and its impact on the core function of auditing."