MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Budget talks collapsed again late Tuesday at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Legislative leaders and Governor Tim Walz are trying to avoid the crises of past budget years — doing everything they can to make sure it doesn’t go to a special session, or government shutdown.
They tried again at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but it did not last very long — only 45 minutes — so no progress was made. And while the Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Walz tried to put the best spin possible on their differences, it’s pretty clear they are far apart.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman was clearly frustrated after leaving the afternoon talks.
“We really don’t have anything to talk about until the Senate makes a real counter offer,” Hortman said. “The governor made a substantial move in their direction, the House made an even more substantial move, and the Senate countered with zero.”
Hortman ripped the Senate Republican budget proposal.
“It would devastate the health and human services area. It would cause massive cuts across the state in our school district that would drive up property taxes,” she said.
But not surprising, Gazelka has a very different view.
“We want them to make movement on the large tax increases across many different areas over a four-year period, it was $12 billion. We’re saying, ‘Show us that that is not too high,’” Gazelka said.
He says at least the sides are negotiating, and are way ahead of where they have been at this point in past budget years.
“I’m still optimistic. I have been through this before, I think we’ll get it done,” Gazelka said.
Gov. Walz says while he will continue to hold onto his principles he is optimistic.
“My principles have not changed. I was elected to do the job that Minnesotans sent me here to do, which is to help work together to craft budgets that reflect their values, in which they said loud and clear, educate our children in a smart way, make sure our health care system’s the best in the world,” Walz said.
And there is no question they have accelerated the time table at the Capitol. The question is will it pay off so that everything is done when the session end by law on May 20.
Legislative leaders and the governor have no meetings scheduled before Sunday night.