Dayton, GOP Lawmakers Drifting Toward Stalemate

May 08, 2017 10:38 PM

Republican lawmakers who control the majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate moved up all their budget deadlines this year in hopes of avoiding and end-of-session stalemate. With two weeks to go, it does not appear it worked.

"Things in the legislature never move as quickly as I would like them to and I'm sure the public probably feels the same way," House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said after a short meeting Monday afternoon between Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP leaders. "But we are working hard, we're working well together and I think we will make progress and think there is enough time to get everything done and get together."


However, a short time later Dayton released the offers and counteroffers the two sides have made. They're still $171 million apart on higher education funding; $151 million apart on funding for public safety and the courts; $81 million apart on economic development; and there's a $5.5 million gap on agriculture.

RELATED: Legislature Returns with Budget Battles to Bridge

Those are supposed to be the easier of the eight main budget areas. The two sides haven't begun serious talks on the most contentious areas, like health and human services and education.

With a May 22 deadline looming, every day now becomes a race against the clock. The governor and lawmakers will meet again Tuesday afternoon when Republicans are expected to make a counteroffer on the first four budget areas in which they're trying to find agreement.

Since 2001, there have been 11 special sessions and five of them were due to budget stalemates. Two of those eventually resulted in government shutdowns -- in 2005 and 2011.


Tom Hauser

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