Seven days into Minnesota’s government shutdown, the state’s Democratic Governor and Republican lawmakers remain $1.4 billion apart on an agreement over how to close the state’s $5 billion budget deficit.Talks to end the shutdown remained at an impasse yesterday after Gov. Mark Dayton asked Republican negotiators to agree to either a 2% income tax hike on millionaires or a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase. Politico reports that the two lead Republican negotiators rejected the demands and ended Wednesday’s meeting after just 24 minutes.
Dayton — who insists that the state needs to raise revenue by $1.4 billion to close the gap — has long favoured the income tax increase, but said yesterday that he is willing to settle for the cigarette tax. He noted that former Republican Governor — and 2012 presidential contender — Tim Pawlenty used a similar tax to end the state shutdown in 2005.
As the shutdown enters its second week, Minnesota is losing tens of millions of dollars, according to the AP. Losses include $1.25 million a day on the state lottery, $1 million a week on state parks, and $52 million a month in uncollected tax revenue state auditors would have brought in.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that there are no budget talks scheduled today.
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