Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Minnesota Government Shutdown Looms

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Less than two weeks before the far-reaching mechanisms of Minnesota's government might come to a halt, Jessica Lund's mind is filled with thoughts of snikerdoodles. Lund, 38, has Down syndrome and was helping to bake the cinnamon-sugar cookies with a care worker in a group home on a recent afternoon. Five other adults with developmental disabilities live with Lund in this 2,000 square-foot rambler that looks like any other on a suburban block of Golden Valley — one of many homes run by Hammer, a private non-profit that's funded almost entirely by taxpayer money. Like the thousands of the state's most vulnerable citizens, Lund doesn't have a voice in the legislative brinkmanship that threatens to disrupt her life.
Minnesota's political leaders failed to pass a budget by the end of the legislative session on May 23. Now, the clock is ticking down to a fiscal deadline of June 30, the end of the current budget biennium, when lawmakers are required to pass another two-year budget that will close a $5 billion deficit.

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