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A year unlike nearly any other

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

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.