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ST. PAUL, MN-Finally, there is a break in the standstill over a budget deal at the Minnesota Legislature — a deadlock which could have shut state government down if it had persisted over the weekend. The deal, which was brokered by Gov. Jesse Ventura,enacts major commercial property tax reform and is expected to provide about $900 million in tax relief and $860 million in new spending.

The plan essentially splits the difference on many of the issues that have prompted the impasse at the state Capitol, resulting in the state Legislature adjourning a month agowithout a budget or spending plan.

“Our goal should be to achieve the boldest and most comprehensive tax relief and reform that this state has seen in 30 years,” Ventura said in announcing the compromise Friday. Ventura thinks the compromise still achieves that goal.

Each party to the deal gets something out of it:

* The House wins significant property tax relief and reform, including a 10% reduction for business property.

* The Senate gets what it thinks is a more stable funding source for education and more money to help property-poor schools keep up with the rest of the state.

* The governor lands a $250-million rainy day fund as a hedge against a slumping economy, in addition to the structural property tax changes he wanted.

Leaders at both the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House were lukewarm about the compromise deal, but both pledged to make it work.

The new plan would:

* Reduce by 10% some of the highest property taxes in the nation on Minnesota businesses.

* Cut property taxes on apartments by 25%.

* Reduce the cost of doing business for farmers by reducing their homestead property taxes by 25%.

* Eliminate the general education levy and exempts cabins and farmland from school operating referenda.

* Lower property taxes on homes by 24%.

Conference committees still must finalize several major bills to forward the governor before the threat of a shutdown passes.

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