Minn. Government Shutdown Coming to an End

The 19-day government shutdown in the state of Minnesota is at an end.

Lawmakers approved the last of 12 bills of a budget agreement in a special session this morning to get Minnesota's government up and running after a nearly three-week shutdown.

The bills will go to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton to be signed into law. Dayton's office indicated to news outlets he would sign the bills into law today.

More than 22,000 state workers have been furloughed since Minnesota political leaders could not reach a deal to close a projected $5 billion budget deficit by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Additionally, state parks, historic sites and numerous other state functions – such as issuing drivers licenses – closed down when the new fiscal year started without a budget.

Dayton Chief of Staff Tina Smith told The Associated Press that state employees would get a 24-hour notice before returning to work.

The bills approved by the House and Senate provide for a variety of spending programs and include about $500 million of bonding for capital projects.

The $34.3 billion spending plan is described as a compromise between Republican and Democratic leaders in the legislature, who have spent the last several weeks arguing over tax increases and spending. GOP lawmakers wanted to hold spending at $34 billion, the amount of projected revenue collections for the next two years, while Dayton, a Democrat, insisted on $1.4 billion more in tax increases to prevent deep cuts in programs and services.

The deal eliminated tax increases Dayton had sought and also included some social policy changes Republicans wanted. It also had higher spending levels than Republicans were seeking.