House, Senate Passing Budget Bills Despite No Agreement

May 09, 2017 06:21 PM

What do you ultimately want to see in Minnesota’s budget for the next two years? 

With less than two weeks to go before the May 23rd deadline, Republican leaders in the legislature are at an impasse with Governor Dayton. Here’s your chance to let these three lawmakers know your thoughts!

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After tiring of what they viewed as a slow pace of budget negotiations with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, the GOP-controlled Minnesota House and Senate began passing budget bills Tuesday evening.

Dayton has already said he's certain to veto them.

The developments come after budget talks yielded only minimal progress toward working out differences in spending levels and tax cuts. Republicans offered a compromise on "global" budget targets on all areas of state government spending and taxes. The governor responded with a counteroffer on just four areas of the budget where he wants to reach agreement first.

RELATED: Little Progress Made Wednesday Toward Averting Budget Showdown

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt balked at that approach. 

"We did receive another offer from the governor," Daudt told reporters after the last meeting of the day. "Our offers don't really look like each other. They're still offering on four indivdual bills. We understand that when you pull one lever in the state budget it throws another lever elsewhere. So it's really important that we really are talking about global targets together."

Dayton said deciding on overall spending targets without knowing any of the details is a non-starter for him.

"I'm not prepared to just say 'global targets,'" the governor said. "That's the crux of our difference on the budget is the difference on spending priorities, and again they made their priorities clear. A billion-dollar tax cut, $372 million out of the general fund for transportation ..." 

After just those two items the governor says nearly the entire $1.65 billion tax cut is wiped out when also accounting for money dedicated to health insurance reform.

The House and Senate will work on passing budget bills late into the night. No new budget talks are scheduled yet. The deadline for adjourning with a balanced budget is May 22.

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Tom Hauser

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