Minnesota legislative leaders announced Friday an agreement on joint budget targets between the House and Senate, meeting the April 28th deadline requested by Gov. Mark Dayton in a communication to the legislature this March. Although Gov. Dayton subsequently backed away from today’s deadline, Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka decided to honor the Governor’s request by agreeing to one set of budget targets to reflect the position of the legislature.
The joint targets include $1.15 billion for tax relief and $372 million in additional ongoing funding for transportation, top priorities for the Republican-led legislature.
Conference committee members have been meeting for two weeks, and have repeatedly urged Governor Dayton and his commissioners to engage and begin negotiating compromises, to no avail. The legislature remains well-ahead of schedule, and has continued to focus on avoiding the last-minute lawmaking which has occurred during every budget session of Governor Dayton’s tenure.
“Minnesotans expect a responsibly-sized budget that invests in key priorities like tax relief, roads and bridges, and education, and these targets accomplish those key goals” said Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt. “It’s now time for Governor Dayton to come to the table and empower his commissioners to begin negotiating with conference committee chairs to ensure we complete our work on time in a transparent manner. We have met the governor’s deadline requests, and expect there will be no further delays or game-playing that would unacceptably delay negotiations.”
“It’s disappointing there aren’t three-way budget targets to announce today, but we are listening to the governor and willing to adapt to his schedule to complete the session,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “I will continue pushing for a new way of doing business at the Capitol that is transparent, open and most importantly, on time.”