Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders worked late into the night Tuesday, trying to get a deal on the state budget with six days remaining until the deadline for the legislature to adjourn. They went behind closed doors just after 1 p-m Tuesday, and didn’t come out until a dinner break for about an hour and a half. “We’re still here,” said the governor. “That’s good thing. (Laughs) Movin’ along, attempt to get this budget done…. Appears to me like our plan is to be here all night.” Walz, Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman then went back into closed-door meetings.
There’s little or no information about how much progress they’re making, or in what areas. Some analysts speculate Walz and Republicans might be trying to get their spending numbers closer in major budget categories like education and human services, which might make it easier to work their way through the impasse over the governor’s proposals for a gas tax increase and extending the medical provider tax.