Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders met for another unproductive budget negotiation as hopes fade for heading off a state government shutdown on July 1.
Both Dayton and GOP leaders said after the 90-minute meeting on Wednesday afternoon that they made no progress in bridging their fundamental split over how much the state should spend in its next two-year budget cycle.
“Every economic indicator is flashing red. There’s some people talking about the national economy’s in a coma. So we’re not going to pile on more taxes and more double-digit spending on top of an economy coma. We’re not going to do that,” said Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Geoff Michel.
Republicans say it shouldn’t be more than $34 billion, the amount the state is projected to collect in that time.
“A special session is not necessary, and a tax increase is not necessary. This is the biggest budget in the state of Minnesota’s history. It should be enough to fund our priorities. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Kurt Zellers.
The Democratic governor says that’s not enough to prevent what he says would be “draconian” cuts to state services. He wants to supplement it with $1.8 billion in new revenue from tax increases or some other source.
“The facts are the facts, and the facts are that this $34 billion budget that they’re stuck on would be catastrophic for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and I won’t agree to that,” Dayton said.
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