Legislative leaders seek compromise on taxes; say special session unlikely

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It’s become a sort of rite of spring in Minnesota. When the trees start to bud and flowers start to bloom, Minnesota lawmakers start planning a special session. Not this year.

“In the second year of the biennium it’s usually pretty rare because the state government continues to operate whether we reach agreements or not,” DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman said in an interview recorded for “At Issue with Tom Hauser” on Sunday. “So May 23rd is a pretty real deadline.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller concurs. “I do not anticipate any special session this year,” he says.

It is true they don’t have to reach any more major agreements, but several billion dollars of a $9.25 billion budget surplus remains unallocated. Governor Walz wants two billion dollars of direct payments to Minnesotans he calls “Walz checks” of $500 per person or $1,000 per couple. Senate Republicans want significant income tax cuts. House Democrats want targeted tax relief aimed at middle-income Minnesotans.

Hortman and Miller say they’ll seek a compromise over the next two weeks.

“Instead of a one-time check we would prefer permanent ongoing tax relief,” Miller says, adding he is open to compromise. “We are open to any option to put more money back into the pockets of the people of Minnesota.”

Hortman says House DFL lawmakers will also seek compromise. “Further discussions on all the tax proposals are what await Senator Miller and I this week,” she said.

As for legalizing sports betting and recreational marijuana, both face long odds this session.

You can see the entire interview with the legislative leaders Sunday morning at 10 on “At Issue with Tom Hauser.”