Sunday budget talks under way

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders are meeting behind closed doors for a third straight day, trying to reach a budget agreement that would avoid a state government shutdown.

State services will begin shutting down Friday, unless lawmakers reach a deal or if the court intervenes. A Ramsey County judge could rule in the next few days whether some essential services should continue during a shutdown. Dayton and GOP leaders have said they won’t comment publicly about specifics while the negotiations continue. On his way to the latest meeting, Dayton stayed true to that pledge.

“I’m always optimistic, hopeful, Dayton said. “We’ll see, but yes. I hope we can make the kind of progress we’ve made the past two days.”

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, made no comments at all. They avoided reporters by entering the meeting through a backdoor.

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