It’s expected Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate will announce today they’ve agreed on spending numbers for major areas of the state budget — an important step before starting negotiations with Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. A major question: Will proposed tax cuts be as large as the $1.3 billion that House Republicans wanted? Saint Cloud Representative Jim Knoblach won’t give specifics but does say, “Of course lots of people have different opinions on things, but I think that we will in the end have a good tax bill.” House Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman says lawmakers could use a *part* of the state’s budget surplus for tax cuts, “but we shouldn’t do mammoth tax cuts while cutting E-12 schools. It makes no sense to fire teachers at a time of surplus.” Governor Dayton warns excessive tax cuts could force the state budget into deficit if the economy turns soft.
Hortman says Democrats will be looking closely at the balance between major areas of Republicans’ budget. “I will be looking for whether Minnesota children are prioritized, or whether rich people and corporations and Republican donors are prioritized,” she says. Republicans respond their proposed tax cuts will primarily benefit middle-class and lower-income Minnesotans.
Knoblach says Republicans hope to have details of the major budget bills finished sometime early next week. “We want to then go back and talk to the governor,” Knoblach says. “He [Dayton] has said that he wants to start negotiating after we [House and Senate] have agreed on our common positions, and so we will take him at his word.”
More in Bill Werner’s interview with Knoblach:
And with Hortman: