Minnesota shutdown still going strong

July 11, 2011 at 1:23 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn., July 11 (UPI) -- Minnesota's state government shutdown has reached 11 days, and there is no sign it will be ending any time soon, officials say.

There have been no newly scheduled talks about the budget, and Republican and Democrat leaders held dueling news conferences Friday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. "I don't see a quick conclusion," said state Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker. "If this thing goes to the State Fair, it will probably go to January. That's my gut."

Should the shutdown go much longer, local restaurants and bars will feel the effects, as licensing offices will not be open to renew liquor licenses. Schools will not be able to build new structures and new teachers will not be able to get licensed.

To worsen the problem, courts are paying out funds to K-12 schools, the court system, health and human services and local government aid, burning through more money than the state is bringing in, while Fitch Ratings lowered the state's credit score, which will make obtaining funding for future projects difficult.

Minnesota is facing a $5 billion deficit, and is the only state that has yet to reach a budget agreement for the next two-year period, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The shutdown is the nation's longest government shutdown in nearly a decade.

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