ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The 2018 Minnesota legislative session is winding down fast, and Republican and Democratic leaders are in a standoff over two of the biggest issues of the year: tax cuts and school funding.
If they don’t reach agreement soon, neither will happen.
Following the weekend fishing opener, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton returned to shore with a sharp message for his Republican fishing buddies.
He called Monday for emergency school aid in needy districts and accused Republicans of ignoring children to give tax breaks to their wealthy friends.
“Everybody who can do them some good in November, they just can’t do enough for them,” he said of Republicans. “And then you got school kids who want to have a decent education, well, they don’t have time to consider that. Well, that’s absurd.”
Republicans worked all year on major legislation to square Minnesota taxes with the new federal tax code.
Without it, Minnesota’s tax system will be in chaos.
“I’m not sure the Revenue Department in the State of Minnesota will even be able to prepare the documents for people to file their taxes next year,” said Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt (R – Springfield). “And if they do, it will likely take a document the size of a phone book.”
While waiting for leaders to act, the House advanced a huge construction projects bill that includes money to fortify schools against mass shooters.
They also approved three new veterans homes, built with excess money from a U.S. Bank Stadium pay-off fund.
Moreover, lawmakers sent to the governor a bill for tougher criminal penalties against protesters who take over freeways.
All of those bills are controversial, and it’s not at all clear which ones — if any — Dayton will sign.
Currently, lawmakers have only six days left to work this session. In that time, they’ll need to reach an agreement on billions of dollars of measures.