Minnesota shutdown to end as deal is struck

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Gov Mark Dayton (centre) after meeting Republican leaders (right and left) in Minneapolis on 14 July 2011
Image caption,
Both Gov Dayton (c) and Republican leaders have had to make concessions

Minnesota's Democratic governor and state Republican leaders say they have reached a deal to end one of the longest shutdowns in recent US history.

In order to end the deadlock, Gov Mark Dayton has dropped an election pledge he made last year to raise taxes, while the Republicans also made concessions.

The shutdown began on 1 July as a new budget had not been agreed to address the state's $5bn (£3bn) shortfall.

The dispute has left more than 22,000 state employees off work.

After negotiations in Minneapolis on Thursday, Gov Dayton told reporters the shutdown would end "within days".

As well as dropping his plan to raise taxes, Gov Dayton is set to accept a Republican offer, made on the eve of the shutdown, to close a $1.4bn (£870m) gap in the budget by delaying payments to schools and selling tobacco payment bonds.

The Republicans, who hold sway in the state legislature, are expected to agree to Gov Dayton's conditions, such as dropping plans to trim the state workforce by 15%, and a $500m public works bill.

"None of us got all of what we wanted," Minnesota Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers told reporters.

The shutdown has left state parks closed and halted funding to many social services.