The title is ment as a joke.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) â?? Minnesotaâ??s state government is closed for business.
It shut down at 12:01 a.m. CDT Friday, the victim of an ongoing dispute over taxes and spending between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative majorities. Talks fell apart well before the deadline, leaving state parks closed on the brink of the Fourth of July weekend, putting road projects at a standstill and forcing thousands of state worker layoffs.
Even before the final failure, officials padlocked highway rest areas and state parks, herding campers out. The full impact will hit Friday morning as thousands of laid-off state employees stay home until further notice and a wide array of services are suspended.
Critical functions such as state troopers, prison guards, the courts and disaster responses will continue. On Friday morning, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz will begin the court-appointed job of sifting through appeals from groups arguing in favor of continued government funding for particular programs.
Dayton addressed the looming shutdown at about 10 p.m. Thursday, emerging after a day of fitful negotiations with legislative Republicans to say the two sides were still fundamentally divided over how much the state should spend the next two years and that the shutdown was inevitable.
â??This is a night of deep sorrow for me,â?? Dayton said.
Republican lawmakers had been gathered at the Capitol for hours as they demanded that Dayton do what he had said for months he would not do: Call a special session so they could pass a â??lights onâ?? budget bill to keep government running. The governor insisted he would only agree to a total budget solution that incorporated the many facets of state spending.