ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Budget talks between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders broke up abruptly Sunday with less than five days left to prevent a state government shutdown.

State leaders avoided reporters as they slipped out of a meeting room near the Capitol. Their staffers had no word on when or whether negotiations would resume.

The two sides have said little in recent days about the content of their discussions, but the latest turn took the information blackout to a new level.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers refused to comment on what happened in the meeting, but said he is still committed to avoiding a shutdown.

“I’m just waiting,” said Zellers, R-Maple Grove. “Waiting to get a budget, waiting to get a deal done, make sure we get out of here on time without government shutting down.”

Dayton spokeswoman Katie Tinucci had no immediate comment other than saying that the meeting’s quick end wasn’t a breakdown in talks.

Dayton and Republicans have been divided all year over spending and taxes in the two-year budget that is supposed to take effect on Friday. Three straight days of talks over the weekend came after months of fitful meetings yielded no compromise. Republicans want to erase a $5 billion deficit by cutting projected spending, while Dayton seeks to add $1.8 billion in new tax revenue, mainly from the state’s highest earners.

Without a new budget, most of state government would close on Friday, stopping road construction, closing state parks, suspending driver’s license exams and sending home tens of thousands of state workers. It would be Minnesota’s second government closure in six years, but this one would reach more widely than the partial shutdown of 2005.

A Ramsey County judge is expected to rule this week on how the state would proceed in a shutdown. She is considering the courts’ and governor’s authority to continue critical services without legislative appropriations.

Sunday’s meeting started with a more upbeat outlook. Dayton went into the room saying he was “optimistic” and “hopeful.”

“I hope we can continue making the type of progress we’ve made the last two days,” he said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (46)
  1. Carl says:

    Has the MnGOP managed to balance it’s own books yet? Apparently they can’t meet their own financial obligations.

    How can they expect to solve the state’s budget problem? By turning Minnesota into a Christian state thus earning God’s grace of a miraculous economic resurgence and budget blessing. Great, public policy by voodoo and religious oppression.

    Praise Jebus, God hates the secular state, Amen.

  2. Bruce says:

    The governor has accepted less spending; the Republicans must accept a tax hike. We all depend on each other in a modern country… and the conservative teabaggers think that is a bad thing???

    1. No less spending says:

      Wrong! The governor hasn’t accepted less spending. The budget went from $32B to $34B. I don’t call that less spending.

  3. kevin says:

    How do you turn a dollar bill into fifty cents.Send it in to the mn. state govenment.

  4. Citizen says:

    kevin is back. Watch this discussion descend into inanity and namecalling.

  5. mike wolf says:

    After what Pelenty,did to the state.I’msurprized they is any money left.

  6. Billy says:

    Minnesota is ranked #2 as the most tax unfriendly states for retires for 2011 according to –

    Looks like bozo the clown is trying to make Minnesota #1. The Republicans offered a 6% increase in the state budget and that isn’t enough??? REALLY!!! When will democrats stop spending other people’s money? ANSWER, when they run out of other people’s money to spend! Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain (AKA PIGS) Soon they will have to change it to (U PIGS) USA, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain!

    1. Looking for Leaders says:

      Yes, we should be more like the great states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina with their terrific systems!!

      Not all states have the same economies, some rely on oil, some tourism, etc.. Don’t try to say we can all operate on the same tax base.

    2. Astonished_by_your_beliefs says:

      Wrong Wrong Wrong. The GOP did not offer an 6% increase. The budget to provide the same services as last biennium was $39 billion with a projected $5 billion deficit. There are more people in the state, costs have gone up, not enough revenue with our bad economy and the fact that we have a structural inequity in our budget when the Ventura admin moved K-12 Education into the General Fund when the economy was good but with no attached revenue. The GOP wants to cut the entire $5 billion deficit for a 12.5% cut in services Dayton’s budget also includes an 8% cut in services.. But he thinks to cut the entire $5 billion is too much and is asking for the mixed approach of more revenue.

      And don’t give me more of that baloney about “living within one’s means” and families cutting their budgets. Remember both plans are cuttting the budget/services. When a family has a crisis – a sick child or house with a hole in the roof, they just don’t say, oops there’s no money and the child won’t be given medical care or they will just the hole in the roof wreck their house. They will find income – borrowing,a second job, asking a rich friend or relative for help, or a community fund-raiser. That’s the real world.

      1. Sue says:

        YOu are so right!!!

      2. I too am Astonished says:

        So Astonished. you want to tax your rich friend and then ask him for money to pay your medical bills?

  7. Citizen says:

    Nice namecalling, Billy. Too bad ‘CCO doesn’t enforce some censorship of that. So, retirees should take their money and move to Florida, Texas, Nevada, South Dakota (no state income tax), and live there? Tax unfriendly is one thing, lifestyle unfriendly is another. I’m retired. And I can’t imagine living in any of those 4 states having lived or traveled to all of them for reasons too numerous to list here. A tax haven is one thing–quality of life is quite another. Not everything is life is about money. For instance, when you die will your tombstone say: Here lies Billy, he loved money and hated taxes. No, it will say (hopefully): Here lies Billy, husband, father, brother, sadly missed by his family. You need to find out what is REALLY important. I would rather pay higher taxes and be near my family and friends in a beautiful state with plenty natural resources. But you, Billy, can feel free to leave.

    1. Lonny says:

      Yeah right, Minnesota is a mecca for retirees.

    2. Jon Lee says:

      Although Florida does not have an income tax there sales tax is up to the individual county and some counties have a 7% sales tax. So the retirees may not pay income tax, but it is offset by the sales tax.

  8. Drd says:

    Citizen said it so right. I lived in Texas for 18 yes glad to be back in a civilized state. I will pay my fair share to get a quality of life. You get what you pay for nothing comes cheap.

  9. real tough says:

    I’m in the upper 2% of income earners and would be willing to take a tax hike, even though I have worked extremely hard to get where I am and had no one to help me. There is only one proviso: I would like someone to thank me for paying more than just about anyone else. Perhaps it’s a guy who knocked up his girlfriend in Gary, Indiana and fled here. Maybe it was a women here on the receiving end. Or a 20-year old who dropped out of high school to smoke meth. Or someone else who thought sitting on their ass was acceptable. Just someone to say “You know, I’m a loser but thank God there are people like you to make up for it.” Just one such person and then “tax away.”

    1. That is so trud says:

      This is great. I’m there as well and all else aside, the people who pay nothing because of their bad life choices actually expect that we pay more when we use the least. How the heck did that become normal and acceptable? Instead of thanking anybody, they simply say you haven’t paid your “fair share”. If it was fair they’d be paying for the services and we’d simpley be left alone. I was poor too when I was in college and didn’t like it and so took the steps available to everybody and made something of myself. No special tricks or connections just hard work. I would like a big rousing thank you everyday from the blacks standing in front of the library every single day of the year waiting to get in to sit around until the next day.

    2. Denise says:

      And you didn’t use the public roads, or the internet, or rely on firefighters and police to protect you from harm. You kept medical crews on hand in case one of your clients needed emergency medical help….get my drift none of us goes it alone so thank me and all the other taxpayers for providing these things for you and I will thank you back for doing your fair share!

      1. real tough says:

        Went completely over your head, didn’t it Denise?.

        1. Denise says:

          Nope, but obviously it went over yours.

        2. Oh Lord says:

          That was a tough one to follow Denise!!!!

    3. Kate says:

      Thank you real tough.
      I am NOT a loser but thank you for helping my family. You see, 5 years ago my family made $150k a year. My husband was in a horrific accident and now requires extensive care. You help pay for my husband’s nurses and his meds. I am not lazy. I work full time. I don’t have the availibility to cover thousands of dollars a month for his care, plus our children, and home. I don’t own a cell phone. I can’t afford it. I don’t drive a new car. I can’t afford to. I didn’t decide to get knocked up with no means of supporting my child. Life just didn’t turn out as rosy as I thought it would. I am busting my ass to provide for my family. My luxury is internet so i can go back to school and hopefully make life better for my family.
      Sincerely, with my whole heart thank you.

  10. Just Cause says:

    I’ll keep saying it, people and businesses aren’t spending while the financial markets are shaky, so the economy is in the tank. If you cut government spending you will take more money out of the economy and the economy will tank worse…

  11. emo says:

    Oh good, sex offender treatment that cost 120 ph will shut down. They can all go serve their time.

    1. Looking for Leaders says:

      To save more money we should just let them out of prison, great idea!!

      1. Country Boy says:

        Oh stop with the scare tactics. There are thousands of areas, programs, and people they could cut, delay, or freeze without having to throw grandma over the cliff. How bout the dept of natural resources, grooming snow mobile trails, funding for the arts, cutural centers, etc, etc, etc, I’m not saying we don’t want them but we are in a financial crisis, We can freeze a few projects until we are back on our feet.

        1. Looking for Leaders says:

          I’m not using scare tactics, I’m mocking the suggesting that we save 120 per hour on sex offenders by stating we can save another $100 per day by letting them out on probation.

          It would be funny to freeze the DNR for 6 months, talk about Tea Party people going nuts. Pawlenty cut, frooze things, etc for 8 years maybe we need to try something new?

          1. CB says:

            I worked for them, there are hundreds of projects that are not important to have done tomorrow. They have many, many people that are involved in these projects, I do know what I am talking about. The media just wants to cover the possibility of tossing kids in the street cause it sells papers and draws viewers.

            1. SK says:

              Not so fast. It’s no so simple. A lot of projects at the DNR and state – are funded from other sources and NOT general fund so if the project stopped, the money can’t simply be transferred to, say, fund nursing homes. Often projects occur because of some state or federal legislative requirement. It would require new legislation to stop the requirement.

          2. CB says:

            Pawlenty was not able to do the kind of cuts he needed because of a demacratic congress. That is why we now have a republican congress.

            1. Looking for Leaders says:

              Actually I think the numbers show that it was because Democrats and Progressives didn’t vote in the same numbers that they did in 2008. In fact I bet Dayton wouldn’t have won if Emmer wasn’t such a drunk. 2012 should be fun.

              1. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

                Dayton won by less than .5% between he and Emmer. Horner received about 12% of the vote. Neither the Dems or the Repubs put up a good candidate for governor last year. Both had lots of baggage. Emmer was an unknown who is a drunk with 2 DWI’s. Dayton is a known name and is a drunk and was admittedly drunk on the floor of the US Senate on several occastions. These were our stellar, out-of-this world governor candidates. I voted for Horner. Even with him I wasn’t comfortable and had questions. More people voted against Dayton than for him.

                Mark Dayton and Yvonne Prettner Solon 919,238 43.6%
                Tom Emmer and Annette T. Meeks 910,382 43.2%
                Tom Horner and James A. Mulder 251,504 11.9%

                1. Citizen says:

                  9,000 + votes, Sarah, is still the number of people in a medium-sized Minnesota town. Don’t negate that. Appreciate the statistics.

            2. Randy says:

              So why didn’t he cut the number of state workers and make government leaner?

      2. real tough says:

        Good idea! Our Catholic churches desparately need pastors.

  12. jan says:

    I received a mailing from the U of M. It was 2 standard size sheets of paper which would have easily fir into an envelope but they mailed it in a big manilla envelope and the postage was over one dollar. That’s one example of government waste and I’m sure it’s only the tip of the iceberg. They should treat the money like it was theirs and not be so damn careless with our money. I worked all my life, worked a second job too, saved my money so I could be comfortable in my old age which I have now reached and now they want me to pay more? I could have taken vacations and bought newer cars during my lifetime but I saved that money for me and my descendants.

  13. anonymous says:

    Governor Dayton marched in the gay rights parade. This article did not say talks broke down. I think he took the rest of the day off to be in the parade. This is in another article and can be verified. Meanwhile the citizens of Minnesota wait as shut down looms. Thanks Dayton

    1. Darby says:

      Wizard. If the other side isn’t moving on issues or says we got to talk amongst ourselves, then what is the harm in going for a walk? You and I do not know what is happening in the meetings. Why blame Dayton and why put out more political vinegar?

    2. Parade is more important says:

      Anonymous- Your’e right, he was in the parade. He might be close to a meltdown.

  14. Talks started too late says:

    I am wondering why Dayton didn’t start these meeting earlier in June? Why is he waiting until virtually the last minute?

  15. Disgusted says:

    Who want’s to step up and cover the IOU’s that Pawlenty gave the schools and cities that raised my property tax.

  16. Norge says:

    Good ol CCO is again censoring the comments of conservatives who put up strong, factual positions, and letting the liberals lie thru their teeth here. CCO censoship in action.

  17. Citizen says:

    @Norge. Perhaps ‘CCO censors specific words. Other than that, I think the articles are locked at times for comments. Plus, the website loads and refreshes badly. Often, I have to hit the stop button so I can finish reading something. Maybe they need to pay their web designer more!

  18. Going down says:

    Tell the republican to get moving, sign the petition

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