Dayton to meet with Legislature about budget

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Local legislators are watching and waiting as a government shutdown looms.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders are meeting to talk about the state budget as the date of a possible state government shutdown keeps getting closer.

The Wednesday afternoon meeting in the governor’s office is the first for the two sides since last Thursday. The Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers are stalled in their dispute over spending levels in the upcoming two-year state budget cycle.

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“We hope that there’s some serious negotiations and that some headway can be made later today,” said Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin. Sparks said he’s heard from constituents who are anxious and nervous over the impending shutdown.

Failure to have a new budget in place by July 1 would trigger a state government shutdown. Republicans have been urging Dayton to call a special session in order to pass smaller chunks of the budget but the governor says he won’t do that until there’s an overall agreement on how much to spend.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.