Last Update: Saturday, July 16 at 11:30 p.m.: Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders remained locked in negotiations today after they failed to meet a 10 p.m. Friday deadline for having all budget bills in place.
The biggest sticking points remain the bills on Health and Human Services, K-12 education and state government.
Despite the complexity of those three bills, however, Taxes Committee Chair Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) said today’s talks made “very good progress” compared to those Friday.
After a short break this afternoon, the Taxes Committee reconvened at 5 p.m.
The aim, Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines) said, was to present a finished bill to the governor as quickly as possible. “We’re making progress. It’s all down to small details,” Runbeck said before returning to the negotiations.
Capital Investment Committee Chair David Senjem also reported progress on the $500 million bonding package, which was a condition of the governor’s acceptance of the GOP budget Thursday.
“We are 80 to 90 percent of the way there,” Senjem told reporters this afternoon.
Legislative leaders gave no indication of how long they would meet tonight.
Dayton has maintained all along that he will only call a special session once negotiations are finished and he approves the bills. The shutdown will end once the bills are signed.
First Post: After two weeks of seemingly fruitless negotiations, , inching inch closer to an end of the Minnesota shutdown; the longest shut shutdown in U.S. history.
The agreement comes after Dayton "reluctantly" agreed to the GOP's June 30 proposal, which would not raise taxes, but would borrow money to balance the budget.
“I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to pursuade a legislative majority of the wisdom of my approach to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans,” Dayton said Thursday. “In the absence of that, however, this is an agreement today.”
However, in turn, Dayton asked that social policy issues be removed, suggested 15 percent reducation in the state's workforce be lowered and said a $500 million construction bill be added. The deal will also raise $1.4 billion by issuing state bonds against future tobacco revenue ($700 million) and shifting K-12 education aid from a 70/30 formula to 60/40 ($700 million).
The shift in education funding will cause a delay in payments to schools, thereby requiring many schools to borrow money in order to function. The prior to the shutdown; however, the new shift may cause some additional problems.
Richfield Patch is reaching out to school officials to get their comments and concerns on the issue.