Budget officials see parallels between current spending battles and 2011 government shutdown

By the end of the week both chambers of the Minnesota state Legislature will almost assuredly pass their major budget bills, one of the fastest budget debates in state history.

But not everyone is happy about the speed and the content of those bills, with many complaining about cuts to services and shifts in critical money to state agencies. 

"These cuts have real impacts on real Minnesotans all across the state," Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said. "In particular greater Minnesota where they don't have acute psychiatric hospitals or facilities they rely on us to provide those services."

No one in the legislature is sounding the alarm quite yet, but some of Governor Mark Dayton's commissioners say they see parallels between this year's process and the 2011 budget session which shut down the state government for 20 days. That year, Dayton also faced off against a majority-Republican legislature which wanted deep spending and tax cuts, ultimately making some concessions in order to return Minnesota government to regular operations. 

Republican leaders in the state Senate are optimistic there is room for compromise, but some of the governor's budget officers are not as bullish on the process. 

"I can say at this point ... I would recommend that the governor veto these bills in their current form," Myron Frans, the governor's management and budget commissioner, said Wednesday. 

Negotiations over the final content of the state budget will begin after the Easter/Passover legislative break.