It's been a week since Minnesota lawmakers left the Capitol, after finishing work on a state budget that wasn't completed until a special session and a partial government shutdown. We take a look behind the scenes at how the budget stalemate came, and was resolved, by the state's three top political leaders.
Senate Democrats say they're willing to back off their proposal for an income tax increase on the state's wealthiest households, and House Republicans say they're ready to preserve health care for thousands who would have lost coverage under earlier budget offers.
A recent state Supreme Court ruling will cost
Minnesota government $250 million to $300 million in the next
two-year budget cycle, deepening a deficit that lawmakers were
already struggling to overcome.
Minnesota could stop issuing new drivers licenses, lock up state parks and highway rest stops, and possibly lay off thousands of state workers if a new budget isn't complete by the end of June. Gov. Tim Pawlenty Wednesday outlined preparations for a partial government shutdown.
State officials are preparing to mothball entire sections of state government if a new budget isn't approved by the end of the month.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty is asking Attorney General Mike Hatch to consider stepping aside in the event a budget impasse requires a court order to keep critical state services running.
Senate Democrats say they won't discuss Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal for a 75-cents per pack cigarette tax until Republicans show they can pass the measure in the GOP-controlled House. The back-and-forth charges continue, as Pawlenty and lawmakers struggle to craft a new state budget.
Gov. Pawlenty and legislative leaders on Tuesday threw open the doors to their usually private negotiating sessions. But the budget talks showed little momentum.
A proposed constitutional amendment,
overshadowed by the gas-tax debate and shielded from Gov. Tim
Pawlenty's transportation bill veto, will let Minnesota voters
decide next year whether to earmark vehicle taxes for roads,
bridges and transit.
Senators dared Gov. Tim Pawlenty to make good on
his no-new-tax pledge by approving a road-funding bill Wednesday
with a dime-a-gallon gas tax increase.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's drive to open a state-operated casino appears to have finally run out of steam. After weeks of delayed votes, parliamentary shortcuts, and behind-the-scenes maneuvering, casino supporters on Tuesday pulled their bill from committee just hours before a scheduled hearing.
In open defiance of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-new-tax pledge, a group of moderate House Republicans has joined with Democrats to endorse a dime-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax over the next three years.
A plan to increase the Hennepin County sales tax to pay for the bulk of a new downtown Minneapolis ballpark cleared its first legislative hurdle on a lopsided 17-to-5 bipartisan vote.
The Minnesota Senate on Friday approved a DFL plan to raise income taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans. The tax increase was approved on a 35-to-28 vote.
The Senate Taxes Committee voted Wednesday night
to hike income taxes, perhaps temporarily, on some six-figure
earners to raise nearly $1 billion for state coffers.