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Minnesota Zoo Opens Despite Shutdown
July 3, 2011

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In the wake of the shutdown of the Minnesota state government because of an inability to agree on budget cuts, one state-funded part of Minneapolis was particularly busy: the zoo.

Thanks to a judge's ruling that the Minnesota Zoo could use its own revenues to pay for a skeleton crew, the zoo threw open its doors the welcome relief of large crowds swelled by the heat of a holiday weekend. It didn't hurt that zoo-goers could attend two concerts put on by the 1960s band the Monkees. The zoo depends on state funds for 29 percent of the overall budget.

The state government is in shutdown mode because Democratic and Republican lawmakers could not agree on how to eliminate a $5 billion deficit. The new fiscal year began on July 1.

The zoo is only one of a number of high-profile entities left out in the cold by the shutdown. Also on the sidelines are state parks, state historical sites, state highway construction projects, and (of course) the tens of thousands of state employees who won't be getting paid for awhile.



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