Republicans at the Minnesota Legislature are wrapping up details of their state budget bills before going into what they hope will be final negotiations with Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. GOP leaders met Dayton’s deadline of last Friday to agree among themselves on overall numbers for major areas of the budget — even though they say Dayton backed away from his initial plan to get agreement with Republicans by then. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says he and House Speaker Kurt Daudt will be meeting with Dayton on a regular basis and “we’re very serious about this opportunity that we have.” Gazelka and other top Republicans are asking the governor to hammer out an agreement with them on overall budget numbers by this Thursday. Democratic Minority Leader Tom Bakk says, “That’s not gonna happen. I’m just telling ya, it’s not gonna happen! [They’ve]… already adopted all these provisions… that the governor objects to. So, he all of a sudden is gonna change course and decide to take all of this?”
The legislature must finish a budget by May 22nd, three weeks from today, or a special session will be needed to avoid state government shutdown.
Here are Senate Majority Leader Gazelka’s comments from Friday:
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Tom Bakk on whether Republicans and Governor Dayton can get agreement on overall budget numbers by Thursday: