More closed-door meetings today as Governor Mark Dayton and Republican leaders start working on a compromise over the state budget. A big issue is the mix of spending and tax cuts, something Republicans and Dayton differ greatly on. The governor says, “That’s gonna be the big crux of it, sure. You talk about the transportation money [that’s] gonna come out of the General Fund, and taxes [cuts], and those two numbers add up already to a very big total.” Dayton is proposing some tax cuts but Republicans want a much larger amount, over a billion dollars. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says, “We’re gonna fight for ours, but he’s gonna be where his position is. In the end I’m sure it’ll be somewhere between, hopefully more towards what we want.”
The pinch-point will likely be human services spending, where Republicans want to spend much less than Dayton. The uncertainty in Washington D-C over health care will make agreement on the state budget even more difficult. Just over two weeks remain in the legislative session.