Politics

Minnesota ends government shutdown

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An empty Minn. House Chamber. (Photo by Flickr user J. Stephen Conn (cc))

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Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders agreed on a budget plan early Wednesday, ending the longest state government shutdown in the past decade. This could mean some 22,000 state workers will return to work as soon as Thursday.

While there have been estimates about how much the government has lost over the shutdown, the full economic impact is yet to be determined.

"It's hard to quantify what the losses are," said Marty Owings, a capitol reporter for public radio station KFAI. "I heard some folks say that they wouldn't be able to figure out damage from all this for months, maybe years."

According to Owings, the state's credit rating was downgraded and businesses throughout Minnesota were "devastated by the shutdown."

One of the many business effected was Canterbury Park racetrack in Shakopee. The racetrack, regulated by the Minnesota Racing Commission, was closed because of the shutdown. Jeff Maday, who works for Canterbury Park, told The Takeaway he had to lay off 1000 of 1100 workers and lost $1 million a week during the shutdown. "It was a big hit for the company and the people involved," Maday said.

As for the budget deal, "they cut a crappy one, according to anybody you talk to you the street," said Owings. "Basically, they kicked the can down the road."

The deal includes $700 million borrowed from future tobacco bond settlements, and another $700 million shifted from school spending, Owings explained.

Not many are happy with the deal, including lawmakers. "It was a stalemate," says Maday. "It was two parties not being able to agree, impacting ­negatively a lot of Minnesotans. Here, you're hearing both the left and the right say that they got nothing out of this."

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"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.