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Press conferences precede shutdown

As thousands of state workers prepared for layoffs, unions held vigil outside the State Capitol.  Inside the building, lawmakers held press conferences as a shutdown approached.  Republican leaders delivered a lights-on bill to the DFL governor who has maintained he won’t call lawmakers back into special session without an overall deal to solve the state’s $5 billion budget shortfall.  GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers said “It is incumbent on us to work right up until the last minute.”

Senate GOP Majority Leader Amy Koch added “The answer is in the House and Senate” where Republican lawmakers staged a sit-in in the House and Senate Chambers to show they’re ready to work.  Gov. Mark Dayton called it a “publicity stunt.”  DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk called it “grandstanding theatrics.”  Dayton confirmed he lowered his tax increase to people making more than a million dollars but says Republicans “opposed tax revenue from any revenue source whatsoever.”  With a shutdown certain the governor concluded  “This is a night of great sorrow for me.”

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