Dayton takes questions from reporters:
Gov. Dayton says he's putting forward a list of state services that he thinks should continue if state government shuts down on July first. The governor is petitioning a Ramsey County District Court Judge to continue services like the state's prisons, the state patrol and veterans homes.
State government would shut down if Dayton and GOP legislative leaders fail to reach a budget deal by July first. Dayton said he's still optimistic that a budget deal can get done but insisted that a temporary shutdown is better than the Republican budget plan that cuts funding for higher education, mass transit and health care programs.
"They're better served by a temporary one for hopefully a very limited period of time than they would be over the next two years through the catastrophic cuts in so many areas," Dayton said.
Dayton met privately with GOP legislative leaders for thirty minutes today and both sides agreed to meet again tomorrow. The two sides are $1.8 billion apart on a budget deal. Dayton is proposing to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners to erase the state's $5 billion projected budget deficit. Republicans say they can balance the budget through spending cuts.
GOP legislative leaders asked Dayton to meet extensively over the next ten days on the budget. They said they planned to exchange detailed proposals in spreadsheet form. They said they'll put forward the first proposal but declined to say whether it would have new numbers in it.
Here's the letter GOP Speaker Kurt Zellers and GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch sent to Dayton.
Note that Zellers and Koch never mention that they are they only side that has not made comprehensive offers affecting both revenue and expenditures. I will believe they have changed their minds (installing working models) when the 6/16 proposal mentions raising taxes.
The Governor is not content with the LARGEST buget in Minnesota history, he wants more or nothing! Just fund the government at current levels, while the two bodies continue to do the harder work of making their cases. Will the govenor's "all or nothing" buget demands do more harm to the people he claims to serve?
The House and Senate have passed a budget greater than hard-line conservatives wanted, and greater than the previous budget. In other words, it's a budget increase, and that's the way we regular folks see it, no matter what kind of gobbledygook the partisans try to feed us. Thus, the obvious question to Gov. Dayton: "Which part of 'increase' don't you understand?"