Minnesota Legislature Passes $46B Budget in Special Session

May 26, 2017 12:54 PM

Minnesota's lawmakers have passed a $46 billion budget after three extra days in session, several sleepless nights and some horse-trading.

The Legislature approved the budget just before 3 a.m. Friday.

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The overtime began Tuesday morning after lawmakers passed the constitutionally mandated deadline to finish a budget by midnight on Monday. But lawmakers made little progress throughout the week as Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans got hung up on final details.

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"There's no question that it was a grind," House Speaker Kurt Daudt said. "I always think that things in the legislature should happen more quickly than they do, but it's OK, and we're just happy to be able to get it all done, and I think this is a budget that Minnesotans can be proud of."

The broad budget agreement would put $650 million toward tax relief, expand preschool offerings by $50 million and dedicate $300 million to fix roads and bridges.

Minority Leader Melissa Hortman said not enough was done for the senior population and people with various disabilities.

"Things cost money and when people need services, you have to serve the people," Hortman said. "Republicans have forced through a budget that has had some really draconian cuts to health and human services."

Gov. Mark Dayton faces pressure from Democratic allies to veto several of the budget bills, including the tax bill, which they warn would harm the state's finances. He plans to hold a news conference later Friday.

"I think it's ultimately his (Dayton's) decision whether to sign or veto; certainly they could have been much better, but with Republicans in control of the House and the Senate, these may be the best budgets we're able to get through," Hortman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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