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A Fitting End To A Sad Story - The Last Day At the Legislature

No dice...

From the Pioneer-Planet:

NO DEAL

Lawmakers adjourned at midnight Monday without closing the state's $2.7 billion budget gap. That leaves Gov. Tim Pawlenty the task of making the necessary cuts.

Give them an "I" for incomplete.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Minnesota Legislature had one big assignment to complete this year: Erase the state's budget deficit. But when time ran out on the 2009 session at midnight Monday, they had failed to get the job done.

They made some progress on closing the gap, but lawmakers are going home leaving a $2.7 billion hole in the next two-year budget.

Now, Pawlenty owns the problem. Last week, he offered to balance the budget by himself after the Legislature goes home, by cutting spending and delaying state aid payments to schools. He accepted that responsibility after vetoing a $1 billion DFL tax increase that would have wiped out much of the budget shortfall.

The session ended in chaos as the Senate and House adjourned at the stroke of midnight. With minutes to go before the constitutional deadline, DFLers in both chambers introduced and rammed through a $1 billion tax-increase bill they knew Pawlenty would veto. They wanted to demonstrate they could pass a budget-balancing bill, even if it was dead on arrival at the governor's desk.

Republicans who rose to object were muzzled by the House speaker and Senate president, so they shook their fists and bellowed in anger at the DFLers.

"This is an absolute disgrace," said Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester.

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