Minnesota Senate Republicans unveil the outline of their state budget plan today (1pm). Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says Senate Republicans won’t agree to the gas tax increase Governor Tim Walz and House Democrats have proposed. Democrats say without new revenue for roads and bridges, Republicans will have to take money from other critical areas of the state budget such as education and health and human services programs. Republicans respond with the economy slowing, Minnesota families and businesses don’t need an extra tax burden. Governor Walz and fellow Democrats respond, now is the time to make what they term investments to keep Minnesota’s economy running strong.
With such a wide divide, can lawmakers finish their work by the May 20th deadline? Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka contends they can. “The fact that we’ve worked so hard at communication… and the fact that we say we want to have some [budget] targets in early May as far as where we want to be, the three of us, that’s really important. If we can actually do that, we *can* finish on time.” Others aren’t so sure.