GOP, Dayton end Wednesday meetings with no budget dealby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
With less than 24 hours to go until a state government shutdown, Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders still don't have a budget agreement.
"We do not have a deal," said GOP Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina.
Budget talks between lawmakers and the governor ended Wednesday night without a deal to avoid a government shutdown.
"All I can tell you is that we're continuing to work on it," said Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci.
Dayton and GOP legislative leaders broke off talks at 9:30 p.m. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The two sides have one more full day to reach a budget deal or state government shuts down.
Michel said they are close on many areas. He declined to provide specifics.
The governor and legislative leaders met privately through the day with committee chairs from K-12 schools and health and human services programs. Dayton did not comment on details with reporters and GOP legislative leaders offered no specifics on the negotiations except to say that they are close on many issues.
"It's hard work. It's a tough slog here, but we can get it done. We're absolutely committed to getting this finished, to completing our work. We just need a little help from the governor to call us back," Michel said.
Michel renewed his request for Dayton to call a special session so lawmakers can get back to work.
Dayton, who made no public comments on Wednesday, has said he won't call lawmakers back until they agree to a full budget deal. State government shuts down at midnight Thursday if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.
Michel said he's telling Republican lawmakers to return to the Capitol tomorrow.
The two sides are at odds over the best way to craft a two-year budget. Dayton wants to erase a $5 billion budget deficit by raising income taxes on top earners. Republicans say they can erase the deficit through spending cuts.
(MPR reporter Madeline Baran contributed to this report.)