Lawmakers Have Just A Week To Resolve The Budget Battle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just a week to go until the end of the Minnesota legislative session, and yet there’s still no agreement on a budget to fund state government.

State lawmakers have until midnight next Monday to pass the entire $45 billion budget, but negotiations between lawmakers and the governor have stalled.

There’s a lot of work to do, and very little time to do it.

Even a weekend at the Governor’s Fishing Opener didn’t break the stalemate. Republicans and Democrats were picking up Monday right where they left off last week.

Republicans control the House and Senate, and they’re lobbing budget bills to the Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who says he’ll veto it all because they haven’t been negotiated in advance.

The vetoes include one on the tax bill, which has more than $1 billion in Republican tax cuts that GOP lawmakers say will jump-start the economy.

Here’s the problem: Republicans are spending almost all of the $1.6 billion budget surplus on tax cuts, which Democrats say is shortchanging critical state programs, like nursing homes and pre-K education.

What if an agreement can’t be reached?

If lawmakers can’t come to an agreement by next Monday, the next step would be for the governor to call a special session. However, there’s no guarantee that the problems will be resolved then either.

If no resolution can be reached in a special session, the outcome could be a partial government shutdown. The last time that happened was in 2011.

Dayton vetoed five bills Monday night, including financing for transportation, public safety, jobs and energy and higher education, as well as a tax bill.

More from Pat Kessler
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