Republicans in control of the Minnesota Legislature ended the 2011 session without a budget agreement with Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. The two sides failed to reach an agreement forcing a special session.
Dayton issued a statement saying he met the GOP halfway by scaling back the size of his income tax hike on Minnesota's top earners. Republicans say they're meeting Dayton halfway because they're spending more money that the current budget. Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers says he remains optimistic that they can resolve their differences soon.
"You always want to finish up and make sure the governor can sign your bills and actually put them into law and be done," Zellers said. "But when you're dealing with the budget deficit that we have, when you're dealing with the economy that we're in all across the country let alone here in Minnesota. It's important to not only getting the job done but getting the job done right."
Democrats criticized their Republican counterparts for failing to pass a budget deal into law. DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk said GOP legislative leaders need to figure out how to get a budget deal before July 1 or the state government would shut down.
"That I think is the challenge for the majority," Bakk said. "To figure out over the next five weeks or so, is how do we get this session to a conclusion, so that everybody gets a little something, but nobody gets everything, and everybody gives and gets a little something. And nobody's totally happy with the outcome."
Dayton has not yet taken action on the budget bills sent to him but he has said they will be vetoed. He has not said when he will call lawmakers back for a special session.
Nobody more flexible than a state republican. Last year's budget problem was the fault of the legislature. This year, under eerily similar circumstances (read, the six billion dollar hole is down to five), the budget problems are the fault of the governor. One difference is that the DFL fiscal notes last year actually balanced. The Republicans refused to look at fiscal notes this year (read, unlike the DFL last year, the republicans did not present a balanced budget this year). And the billionaire boys club (the non-taxpayers league) still runs the republican party. I wonder if each republican legislator gets a crisp new ten dollar bill on their birthday.