Committees in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Legislature this week continue assembling major bills that comprise the state budget, but big differences persist with Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. Republicans propose tax cuts much larger than what the governor wants, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt says they’ll continue advocating for farmers, senior citizens, college students and middle-class Minnesotans. He says, “They’re the ones who created this budget surplus that we have, and we think they’re the ones that deserve to share in the prosperity of it.” Governor Dayton warns excessive tax cuts increase the risk of another round of state budget deficits, particularly if the economy goes soft.
Dayton is urging Dayton to engage in the budget-setting process early on: “This is his opportunity to do that, right now. So we hope that he’s participating in the committee process, that his commissioners are, and in the conference committee process, and that he’s got someone there advocating for his priorities so that they can be considered.” Dayton has set a target of April 28th, one month away, for the two sides to agree on broad outlines of the state budget. That’s about three weeks before the legislature must adjourn, and the governor and lawmakers are trying to avoid a special session. Whether they do, remains to be seen.