Minnesota shutdown prompts political blame game

Minnesota shut down its state government Friday amid a budget showdown between the governor and lawmakers, leaving state parks closed at the start of the U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend, putting road projects at a standstill and forcing thousands of state worker layoffs.
The shutdown started at 12:01 a.m. because of an ongoing dispute over taxes and spending between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative majorities. Talks fell apart well before the deadline, and there has been no word of any plan to continue budget negotiations.
The heads of the state's Republican and Democratic parties each say the other side is responsible.
Minnesota Republican Chairman Tony Sutton called Dayton a "piece of work" and accused him of inflicting "maximum pain" for political reasons.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin laid the blame on Republicans, saying they drove the state to a shutdown to protect millionaires from tax increases sought by Dayton.
Even before the final failure, officials padlocked highway rest areas and state parks, herding campers out. The full impact will hit Friday morning as thousands of laid-off state employees stay home until further notice and a wide array of services are suspended.
Critical functions such as state troopers, prison guards, the courts and disaster responses will continue.