The Minnesota Senate passed the state’s environmental budget bill Thursday by a 35 to 28 vote, with Republicans saying the cuts to state agencies would be manageable but with the legislation possibly facing a veto by Gov. Mark Dayton.
DFLers said the legislation would lead to park closings and reduced hours. Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, said the state’s parks and trails budget would be cut by $7.3 million. “Parks and trails are what most people think of when they think of the Department of Natural Resources,” she said. “A lot of Minnesotans will be very unhappy that their vacation is going to be hindered in this way.”
But Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee chair, said DFLers were inflating the legislation’s negative impact. The DNR’s budget, he said, would face just a 2.3 percent budget cut, a reduction that should not “by any stretch [be] veto bait.”
“The parks will remain open. They’ll be there on the 4th of July,” said Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria.

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