As state budget deadlock continues at the Minnesota Capitol, the Republican-controlled Senate is preparing to pass a bill that would continue funding at current levels if Governor Walz and Republicans can’t agree by the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. Democrats object it’s basically acknowledging the legislature will miss next Monday’s deadline for passing a new budget and go into overtime. Saint Paul Senator Richard Cohen doesn’t like it, saying, “We reached this point, this is we kind of throw up our hands up in the air and say, gee, we give up.” Hutchinson Republican Scott Newman responds, “I don’t feel like the pressure is off at all. I still have a job to do and I intend to do it.” Lino Lakes Republican Roger Chamberlain adds it’s “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” and a continuing resolution will protect state agencies and employees, and protect those who rely on state services and those who pay the bills.
Ham Lake Republican Michelle Benson says a continuing resolution is essential because the Minnesota Supreme Court clearly said it will not order funding for essential government services if the legislature and governor cannot agree on the budget. “I don’t think the Supreme Court’s gonna back off from this, and I don’t want to take a chance that lawyers talking in a room are gonna save us if we don’t get our work done,” Benson says.
But Roseville Democrat John Marty argues a continuing resolution is premature, because it takes the pressure off to get a budget agreement. “A month from now, if we’re sitting here and sitting elsewhere waiting for a special session because they’re still negotiating, then I think that might be the time to do it,” Marty says. He calls Republicans’ action a political ploy. Republicans respond they’re making absolutely sure Minnesotans won’t be hurt.