Minn. Legislature Moves Closer To Special Session

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A budget standoff between Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers pushed the Minnesota Legislature closer to overtime Saturday, with less than 60 hours left before a required adjournment deadline.

A special session now looks inevitable, despite the heady hopes of a fresh crop of Capitol players who swept into power at the start of the year. Voters sent a mixed message: Dayton is the state’s first Democratic governor in 20 years, but the Republican takeover of the entire Legislature is even more historic. Republicans control both chambers for the first time in 38 years.

The basic disagreement over taxes and spending has been the same for weeks.

Faced with a projected $5 billion deficit, Dayton wants to raise taxes. He downsized his proposal Monday to $1.8 billion from more than $3 billion, but Republicans refuse to consider new taxes or other revenue beyond the $34 billion the state is projected to take in over the next two years. Instead, they want to balance the budget by cutting spending and say it’s important to show the public the state can tighten its belt like an average family.

Democrats characterize the level of GOP-backed budget cuts as harmful for the poor and vulnerable residents like disabled children and seniors trying to stay out of nursing homes.

Talks between Dayton and legislative leaders resumed Saturday but appeared to make no headway.

“Really, not much progress was made,” said House Minority Paul Thissen, a Minneapolis Democrat who joined the private negotiations for the first time with Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk. “We talked about generalities. I didn’t see much movement from the Republican leadership at all.”

Budget talks were expected to continue later in the day.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said she pressed Dayton to spell out his objections to a public schools spending package that landed on his desk a day earlier. She said he responded that he was still reviewing the bill. The rest of the GOP budget bills were presented to Dayton on Saturday. He has until Tuesday to act on a schools bill and Wednesday on the other bills.

Dayton has vowed to veto all the spending bills without an overall budget agreement.

Koch and Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel showed increasing frustration with Dayton.

“There’s 500 school districts waiting. If he’s going to take until Monday, then he’s putting those school districts into a special session,” Michel said.

Meanwhile, much of the action in the Capitol focused on the House, which could vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Leaders delayed the vote a day earlier after a preacher known for anti-gay comments delivered a prayer on the House floor, prompting an apology from House Speaker Kurt Zellers. It wasn’t clear whether the legislation would come up Saturday.

Protesters on both sides of the gay marriage issue massed outside the House chamber, creating a wall of sound that illustrated the public passion involved.

If the House passes the bill, the question of how to define marriage would go before voters next year. They would be asked to approve a traditional definition of marriage — the union of one man and one woman — as an amendment to the state constitution.

Earlier, hundreds filled the Capitol rotunda demonstrating against budget cuts and showing support for Dayton’s plan to raise income taxes on the highest 2 percent of earners.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Destroying... sure buddy

    Destroying the country and the state is a strong word. I am so tired of both sides saying the other side is not just doing a poor job, instead they go too far to say we all need to hide under ourt beds in fear or demand that they be replaced with our own team!

  • Kevin

    Dear Lord…please make all the little glittery people go away…..

  • Dave Campbell

    Wrong Sam! The GOP campaigned on balancing the budget and creating jobs and has failed miserably in doing both. The only thing they have accomplished is spewing their hate and bigotry. Givge me one valid example of howGovernor Dayton is destroying Minnesota.

    • Tax Payer

      Dave Pawlenty destroyed Minnesota and Dayton is trying to fix it. Pawlenty has too many cronies in congress for Dayton to do his job he was voted in to do.
      Make a flat tax with no deductions, no refunds, that would fix the problem.

  • Ron

    This idiot should move to wisconsin!

  • Joe Hanson

    Shut down the State Government Governor Dayton and show those Republicans that you can’t run the state with $3 billion more this biennium than was spent last biennium!

  • Ron

    This idiot needs to move to wisconcin! You sound like a puke Republican!

  • Johnson

    Republicans are delusional….It’s like something someone once told me…

    People want to believe and as soon as they want to believe they stop thinking.

    Republicans want to believe what they want to believe, and in doing so they believe all the lies and mistruths that surround them as if they are facts…

  • emil

    everyone that has left a comment here is delusional. You could blame the Democrats or the Republicans for the distress, but you have to blame yourselves for allowing this political idiocy to continue by casting votes in a partisan manner. This is a time for true governmental change because the installed political parties are literally running the United States into the ground by their adherence to the philosophies of the past. There needs to be a new direction, and none of the intrenched political parties have been able to provide it. Use your vote and get these leeches out of power.

  • The libs

    I can only imagine how these liberal and progressive posters live their lives. Financial chaos, huge credit card balances, kids out of wedlock, new cars, expensive cell phone plans, cable tv, high school education, maybe a 2 year degree, subprime mortgages, late on all the bills, all earning under $75,000 a year and a tax refund (state and federal) every year used to go buy some shrimp. I suppose if you could reach into your neighbor’s pocket to steal from them to support your poor choices you would. I just wonder does the wantingness to steal from others come on gradually or does it build more and more with each poor choice? Life seems like it would be so much easier if one just gave up and became a liberal/progressive.

    • Frank

      Nope, i don’t.
      Explain then how the deficit went up under every republican president since Nixon iif conservatives balance the books? You are part of the problem as you cast people into a small box without thinking. Life would be much easier if people gave up on being nasty to each other.

      • fkafka

        Frank, You”re ignoring latency of the debt. The government doesn’t like paying bills on time either. Kennedy and mostly Johnson spent 3 terms in Vietnam, and Hubert talked them into a bit of *really expensive* social engeneering. Nixon was elected to *get us out of Vietnam*. The republicans tried to manage the budget and they gutted defense, leaving Carter with a squier gun. Obama uses the excuse that he inherited the debt every day. And he’s right.

        • Frank

          The previous poster wanted to paint the republicans as the fiscally sane ones. I was merely pointing out the fallacy of his argument. You did not disprove it either as 20 of the last 30 years there has been a republican president. When you look at balanced budgets, only Clinton did it. I did not hammer until now the idiocy of him saying that liberals having babies out of wedlock and what happened to prominent republican families in Alaska and California. Lest also Lib be forgetful, Madoff, Petters and Hecker were all Republican contributors,

    • PS

      we can say the same for the rebubs.I’m a democrate I pay my bills on time have NO credit cards NO kids out of wedlock,and earn under 40,000 a year and have NEVER taken anything from my neighbor ! So maybe just maybe you are a moronic rebublican who has drank to much of the kool-aid …………….DON’T GENERALIZE ALL PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T THINK BEYOND THE END OF YOU NOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • The Libs

        @PS Thats funny, you forgot about the not paying any taxes part due to the refunds you receive. Seriously how much did you actually pay in federal, state, payroll taxes and FICA? Likely none if you’d bother to calculate it. I didn’t say you have stolen from your neighbor but that you would if you could to support your poor choices. Listen your 40k is telling me that something didn’t work out for you unless you are in your early 20’s just out of college. If you worked hard and smart, and actually earned a decent amount of money you would understand. Until you do actually earn you will never understand and since your ethics and morals are likely askew they certainly won’t guide you. Also then if by drinking kool aid you mean starting from nothing, working hard and smart, making good choices and going from poor to wealthy with zero handouts, then yes apparently that is the case. The kool aid argument only applies to liberals and progressives. At some point you hopefully will figure things out. The bottom line is you are poor and apprently don’t have much going for you and are also a self-admitted Democrat. Strange coincidence or obvious outcome. When I was poor, I was annoyed with rich and successful as well, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to help me earn the American dream. I’ve been there and I’ve seen both sides of the argument only to realize you are either lying to yourself or are indeed drinking the kool aid.

    • Erin

      And what are you doing to change the world? I want examples. Thoughts like yours are exactly why this world is full of negativity.

  • Murph

    It will be fun to watch the GOP’ers weep and stomp their feet and run crying back to their wealthy bosses after Dayton stiffs them. Oh well,what goes around comes around! Just hang in there democrats, 2012 is PAYBACK time! Double the rich peoples taxes,triple ’em ,then kick em in their chubby butts and cripple em!

  • Curtis

    FCK YOU BIGOT party

  • Dave Seavy

    In the private sector, continually accomplishing nothing and then asking for an extension of time so that you can try to make up for the year that you accomplished nothing – would get you fired. I’m not sure why we deal with this year after year. They bicker like a bunch of kindergartners; look out only for their own interests; justify their lack of productivity; and, have the gall to give themselves raises that are undeserving. It used to be that the legislators worked for the people, but that has all changed. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

  • Liberals are thieves

    If you agree with Dayton, you just might be a thief. That all.

    • PS

      if you beleive the rebublican party you are a CRIMINAL and should be in prison!!!

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