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Westrom votes in favor of final budget bills to end shutdown

On Wednesday Governor Dayton signed into law the final budget bills passed by the House and Senate late Tuesday night in order to end the 20-day long shutdown; the longest shutdown in recent history.

"I was pleased last week when Governor Dayton said he would drop his tax increases in order to go along with a budget framework already passed by the Legislature," said Westrom.

Governor Dayton announced last week that he would agree to the budget proposed by lawmakers on June 30, right before the shutdown, with a few conditions. Lawmakers were willing to work under this framework, and a budget was finalized Tuesday morning and the governor called a special session for Tuesday.

"I am glad the shutdown has ended. Thousands of employees can now return to work and state parks and fishing license sales can re-open," added Westrom.

Westrom said the budget deal ends the prolonged shutdown and includes many of the reforms originally proposed by Republicans. Although neither side agreed with the budget completely they knew the shutdown needed to end, and a compromise was struck, Westrom added.

State workers returned to their jobs Thursday morning.

Westrom said a key highlight of the bills was an increase in K-12 education funding of $50 per student. "Additionally, rural schools with enrollments under 1,000 will gain some extra funds that were pushed by the legislature and finally agreed to by Governor Dayton," Westrom said.