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The Associated Press July 7, 2011, 3:40PM ET

Minn. shutdown a battle over big-spending legacy

The weeklong shutdown of Minnesota's government stems from a deep conflict about the state's tradition of generous public assistance programs.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton says the state's long practice of caring for the vulnerable is at risk in the budget dispute that led to the shutdown. Republicans who control the Legislature say that safety net has been fueled by high taxes that stifle job growth.

The two sides had no overall budget talks scheduled Thursday.

Even Dayton's allies agree the state spends generously. But they say that's led to decades of high test scores, strong incomes and a desirable quality of life. Republicans say the state can no longer afford to be known as a place where newcomers have fast, long-term access to a long menu of benefits.


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