June 28, 2005Shutdown coming
I said several weeks ago here that the deadline for a new state budget was July 1. Now it looks very likely that legislative leaders will push past that and shut down the government. Things got a little silly at the Capitol yesterday before negotiations started. The governor's office encouraged TV stations to photograph the state plane sitting empty on an airport runway to dramatize how DFL leaders were ignoring his call to meet at Camp Ripley. Never mind that the invitation was a stunt to begin with. When negotiations finally did get underway at the governor's residence (where they should have been from the start) not much happened. Here's what MPR's Tom Scheck wrote:
They exchanged budget offers well into the night, but said they're still at least $800 million apart on an overall budget deal.
Meanwhile the Senate is working on a plan to keep more of the government operating past July 1, as noted in the Pioneer Press:
The Senate Rules Committee on Monday sent a bill to the floor that would take care of some state agencies, including keeping state parks open. The measure would fund agriculture, natural resources and economic development at current levels for the next two years.
So as non-profits, schools, health care providers, parks and state employees wonder how much they will be able to do after July 1 it's hard to see an overall agreement by Friday. We'll hear more from state employees today and see what happens to that "lights on" bill.
Posted by Mike Mulcahy at 6:29 AM