Final Countdown: MN Legislative Session Ends Today

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 6:34 am

Sunday came and went without any real solution for Minnesota’s $5 billion budget deficit, as legislative leaders continue to squabble over the direction of the state. The legislative session is now at an impasse between Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans, who control both house and senate.

The two sides are about $1.8 billion apart in how to resolve a $5 billion deficit, and if they don’t strike a deal by midnight tonight, a special session would be necessary to avert a government shutdown later this summer.

“Nothing to report big at this point, but discussions are continuing,” Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, told the Associated Press after leaving an hour-long meeting with Dayton on Sunday.

Republicans passed a set of budget bills that total $34 billion in spending; the Democratic governor wants to supplement that with another $1.8 billion in new revenue in order to avoid some of the steepest cuts and reductions to social services, state aid to cities and counties and spending on state colleges and universities.

Dayton is suggesting the extra revenue come from an income tax increases for those in the state’s highest bracket of earners, but has said he’s open to other ways of raising state revenue. Earlier in the week the governor halved the amount of new revenue he’d like to see, but Republicans have refused to budge from the $34 billion figure.

Republicand say raising taxes can threaten the economic recovery, and squelch any growth we have been seeing.

A special session appears likely.

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