The stalemate continues between Governor Mark Dayton and Republicans over the state budget with four days left in the legislative session. Their last exchange was Wednesday when Dayton proposed what he called a “Meet Half Way” deal, Republicans counter-offered, and both accused the other of hardly budging at all. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is pushing for Republicans to make a second offer in a row to try to break things free. He says, “To do our part for Minnesota, we’re willing to say that we can get there, that we’ll do our part. And so the governor has to do his part as well.” But House Speaker Kurt Daudt Thursday night did not seem receptive to making two offers in a row to the governor, saying the next move is Dayton’s. Daudt says, “I think the public’s gonna judge him [Dayton] harshly for walking away from the table today and saying, I’m not gonna compromise, I’m not gonna meet with them.” Dayton said yesterday he made his “Meet Half Way” offer and Republicans’ response is so out of the ballpark there’s nothing to discuss.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt indicates, if negotiations deadlock as Monday’s deadline approaches, they’ll pass another budget to replace the one Dayton vetoed earlier this week. “We’ve already sent one balanced budget to the governor’s desk,” he says. “If we send a second one to the governor’s desk, I think he’s gonna have a tough time trying to convince Minnesotans that we were the one responsible” for the legislature going into overtime.
When asked if he’s worried the legislature will miss its midnight Monday deadline and have to go into extra innings, Dayton budget point-man Myron Frans said, “I have concern. There’s no question about it. It obviously can still get done on time. It’s remarkable to me how quickly things can turn around, so I’m still holding out hope but I am concerned.”
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Tom Bakk says, for Republicans to have enough money for tax cuts they want, they must be willing to tap $350 million in the Health Care Access Fund. Bakk says, “They didn’t have any problem taking 400 million out and giving it to insurance companies [when they passed the reinsurance bill] earlier in the session, but now all of a sudden there’s this sanctity of the Health Care Access Fund.” Bakk says the available money — around $600 million — probably isn’t enough to do both tax cuts and a transportation bill. He adds it’s “getting pretty difficult” to get everything done on time.
Bill Werner’s interview with Gov. Dayton’s Management/Budget Commissioner Myron Frans from Thurs night:
Thurs night interview with House Speaker Kurt Daudt: