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A year unlike nearly any other

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- The past year was packed with disputes under the Minnesota Capitol dome, often involving Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature sparring over money issues. It was a year full of surprises.


Jan. 3: Dayton was inaugurated as one of the state's most liberal governors, then immediately puts a tax-the-rich strategy at the top of his priority list.

Jan. 4: The first Republican-controlled Legislature in decades convenes with lawmakers expressing optimism, but admitting they may need a special session to plug a budget deficit.

Late January: Lawmakers and the Dayton administration say they want to approve a new Vikings football stadium, but only after passing a state budget.

Jan. 31: Dayton suggests spending $1 billion for public works projects, with him picking half and the GOP-controlled Legislature deciding half.

Feb. 9: In Dayton's first State of the State speech, he says, "Compromise doesn't mean we have to agree, thank goodness, because we won't."

Feb. 10: Dayton vetoes Republican bill that would cut $900 million from state budget.

Feb. 16: Dayton unveils a $37 billion, two-year budget proposal.

Feb. 28: Minnesota leaders learn the budget deficit they face is $5 billion, not the $6.2 billion they expected.

March 3: Dayton signs bill he and Republican lawmakers like, to speed environmental business permits.

March 7: Dayton bucks Education Minnesota and signs Republican-pushed bill to give mid-career professionals an easier route to becoming teachers.

March 10: Legislative Republicans say they