Republicans Say They Will Move Ahead on Budget Bills, Despite No Agreement With Dayton

May 19, 2017 09:26 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 23 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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House and Senate Republicans said Friday afternoon that they will move ahead with new budget bills despite not having reached a budget agreement with Governor Mark Dayton.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Republicans will keep working with Dayton and would remain "flexible" when it came to changing numbers in bills.

The announcement came after legislative leaders and Dayton had resumed negotiations aimed at settling the state budget. Governor Dayton said he was blindsided when Republican lawmakers decided to move ahead with budget bills without prior agreement.

"I don't know what's in the bills," Dayton told reporters Friday night after an interview on "Almanac" on Twin Cities Public Television. "I haven't seen them. I don't know what the details are on the money and I don't know what the policy provisions are or aren't in the bills. So as one of my associates use to say, it's as clear as mud."

The two sides will resume talks Saturday morning at 10 a.m. even as lawmakers begin processing budget bills to be passed by Monday's midnight deadline.

RELATED: Budget Talks Hit a Stalemate

They traded offers earlier in the week but progress froze Thursday. They are roughly $1 billion apart on overall spending.

Dayton wants to boost spending for his flagship preschool program and increase state government's cybersecurity efforts, among other things, while Republicans have focused on tax cuts and transportation spending.

In an interview with KSTP's Tom Hauser for Sunday's "At Issue" program, Dayton said the goal of finishing by Monday's deadline is "hanging by a thread" as negotiations continue.

Dayton said that so far the two sides are still focused only on budget numbers. But hundreds of Republican policy provisions could be major obstacles. He said policy provisions like scrapping MNSure or prohibiting protesters from blocking highways and airports should not be in budget bills.

Republican lawmakers said they were going into a "cone of silence" on the status of negotiations after early morning negotiations. That silence was broken with their announcement Friday afternoon.

RELATED: Dayton Signs Nine Bills Into Law

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Credits

Tom Hauser

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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