With Monday deadline and no budget deal, legislative special session becomes near certainty | KSTP.com

With Monday deadline and no budget deal, legislative special session becomes near certainty

Tom Hauser
Updated: May 15, 2021 07:21 PM
Created: May 15, 2021 05:53 PM

The Minnesota House went into a floor session at 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon with the Senate following later at 7:30 p.m. Don't let looks fool you; sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS progress toward agreements on a budget deal, federal COVID money spending and police accountability are going "slowly."

The deadline to reach an agreement, pass them off the House and Senate floors and send them to the governor is midnight Monday. There's close to zero chance of that happening.

"It doesn't appear that we'll get done on time but you need to know we continue to work toward the things that need to get done," Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Friday.

Gazelka, DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman and DFL Gov. Tim Walz met privately on Saturday with little progress.

They're trying to figure out what to do with a $1.6 billion state budget surplus and $2.8 billion in federal COVID relief money. Along with budget issues, House Democrats are also seeking significant police accountability legislation. On Friday Gazelka signaled some willingness to pass a policing bill.

"We are talking about the police issues," he said." I believe there's potential to find some things with everyone at the table."

However, he's unwilling to consider tax increases with so many surplus funds available. Gov. Walz is frustrated by Republican opposition to raising taxes to help increase education spending.

"You never hear me say those lines in the sand," the governor said this week. "I could say if I don't get every single penny I requested in education it's a non-starter and we're done. Well, that's not negotiations. That's the hostage-taking that we've seen. I'm more than willing to work with them."

The governor did cut short his trip to Otter Tail County for the traditional fishing opener so he could return to St. Paul and continue budget talks. He didn't catch a walleye and so far hasn't landed a deal to end the session.


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