Dayton administration continues preparations for shutdown

Gov. Mark Dayton's Cabinet met behind closed doors Friday to discuss the state budget stalemate and planning for a state government shutdown. Around 36,000 state employees started receiving notice Friday that they will be laid off on July 1 if the governor and GOP legislative leaders fail to reach a budget deal.

Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter declined to say which services the Dayton administration would ask a judge to continue providing if government shuts down.

"Everything in state government is being considered because of the nature of the lack of funding," Schowalter said. "Without appropriation bills in place, without enacted appropriation bills, most of state government doesn't have authorization to spend. It's the exception that the court will have to determine."

Dayton Chief of Staff Tina Smith said some workers will stay on the job if a judge deems their jobs essential. She hopes to get a petition to a judge soon.

"We don't have a specific date certain that we plan on petitioning the courts. It's fair to say that we want to move expeditiously and once we're clear about the recommendations will be, we'll go forward to the courts."

Dayton issued a statement saying the layoff notices are a grim reminder that a possible shutdown is just 20 days away. Dayton wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners while Republicans say the state's $5 billion budget deficit can be erased without a tax increase.

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