Minnesota's state government shutdown has now entered its seventh day with no end in sight.
State leaders gave little indication Wednesday that they are progressing to an agreement.
The state's budget shutdown leaders -- Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.; Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove -- indicated that their negotiations had regressed Wednesday, instead of progressing.
The leaders remain about $1.5 billion apart on the budget -- stuck in a leadership rut and blaming the other side for not budging in the budget debate.
The Republican leaders are stuck on their "no new taxes" campaign promise and the DFL governor is stuck on his tax the "top 2 percent."
The next best hope may lie in the so-called third option organized by former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson and former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat. They have organized an ad hoc budget group with bipartisan leadership to develop a budget solution by the end of the week.
The other critical factor is the growing anger of citizens at the budget impasse and the resulting state shutdown.
Many Minnesotans have been on holiday for much of the past week and have not seen any impact yet from the state shutdown.
Shutdown reality will start hitting more Minnesotans with each passing day. Those affected Minnesotans are just starting to let state leaders and legislators hear about their displeasure.
This growing citizen displeasure may be the coming critical factor that finally creates movement in the budget negotiations.