Dayton, Republicans Back in Budget Talks

Posted May 20, 2017

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders hit an impasse Thursday in their quest to set a new Minnesota budget, halting meetings to resolve their massive differences with just days left to finalize a new spending package.

Republicans said they will reduce the number of policy measures in the bill, but added that there is always some policy in budget bills.

GOP leaders announced Friday that they made a decision to set their own budget targets because time is running out on the session and negotiations with the governor have so far failed to produce a deal.

Dayton is not alone in thinking work may not be concluded by the midnight Monday constitutional deadline. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign the bill. Democrats strongly opposed the measure.

"Our end goal is to have bills that the governor can sign, that the people of Minnesota will look at and say this is really good for Minnesota", Gazelka said. It's a repeat of an earlier maneuver when they sent Dayton budget bills that were promptly vetoed. Dayton said removing that amount of money in state tax revenues would risk plunging the state back into recurring budget shortfalls. But hundreds of Republican policy provisions could be major obstacles. For Dayton, it means expanding a prized preschool program to more schools while sending extra funding to help an overburdened court system and boost state government's cybersecurity efforts. But the two sides disagreed about what actually constituted the halfway point of the surplus, throwing a wrench into the negotiations. Daudt said Dayton has signed some such bills in the past, without negotiations concluded, so he held it out as a last-second chance to wrap up the session on time. Lawmakers would then have until June 30 to avoid a government shutdown.

Republicans said with their new round of budget bills, that they are attempting to move closer to at least some of Dayton's positions.

But the speaker also said Friday's action was different, noting their concessions on tax cuts, education spending and more. They reduced their transportation proposal from $372 million to $300 million.

Staff funding for the Minnesota Security Hospital also may not be included in a health and human services budget despite a strong push from Dayton's office. Our compromise targets reflect our priorities of providing tax relief and fixing roads and bridges, but they also heavily consider the governor's priorities.

Despite the looming deadline, passage of the Real ID bill this session was far from certain.

Erickson said legislators met on the bill 25 times and incorporated Dayton administration wishes.

By the time the bill came to the House floor, members were all talked out. A meeting was scheduled for Saturday morning.