Dayton, Republicans Resume Budget Talks Behind Closed Doors

"I am very pleased to report to you that the Minnesota Legislature has just passed a bill, which I have signed into law, authorizing compliance with the REAL ID Act", Dayton, a Democrat, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Friday.

Dayton and many lawmakers said they were concerned that the Legislature can not finish by its constitutionally mandated midnight Monday deadline. Daudt says Dayton's stance on spending is "out of touch with where Minnesotans are at on these issues and we're gonna keep fighting for tax relief and for money for roads and bridges". For Dayton, it means expanding a prized preschool program to more schools while sending extra funding to help an overburdened court system and boost state government's cybersecurity efforts.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, of Nisswa, said Thursday night that Republicans were working on another offer but offered little detail as to what it would contain. "We made an offer to meet halfway and we haven't been met halfway", he added.

"It's not half. It's nowhere close to half. All I can say to my friend Commissioner Frans is, 'Nice try'".


Meanwhile, the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders are in a standoff over the budget. His proposal included postponing the repayment of $1.8 billion that Minnesota owes local school districts, covering the rest with $1.7 billion in spending cuts and $1.7 billion in additional tax revenues.

If they can't strike a deal in time, the state wouldn't immediately plunge into a state government shutdown. Dealing with a budget surplus this year, some at the Capitol thought legislators might be able to cut a deal in time for an orderly finish to the session.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) praised Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for his actions against SF 1937, a measure that would have removed solar customers' ability to have fees reviewed by independent experts at the Public Utilities Commission.

In response, Republican lawmakers said they are going into a "cone of silence" on the status of negotiations.


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