2016 Legislative Session Ends at Midnight without Compromise
SAINT PAUL- The 2016 legislative session failed to reach a compromise on two important issues regarding a transportation proposal and a public works package.
The House passed the combined transportation and public works package, but the Senate put on an amendment and there was not enough time to send it back to the House or remove the amendment before their midnight deadline. The result killed any chance of adding transportation funding and enacting a public works bill.
Regarding transportation, lawmakers were looking into a $600 million-a-year infusion for transportation programs for a decade. That plan failed at midnight, but would have provided $600 million in the next year, with no guarantees after that.
Legislators were divided about how much to spend on public works projects. A plan of $990 million was brought up around 11 PM. That figure was between the $800 million House Republicans wanted and the $1.5 billion Senate Democrats sought. The House passed the measure 91 to 39, but the Senate did not pass it before the House adjourned.
The two parties were at odds on how to fund fixing and updating the state’s 20,000 bridges and 12,000-mile state highway system. The senate called for a gas tax increase or an increase in license tabs fees, which the House sought to borrow and use current revenue streams. They also disagreed about mass transit, with the House opposing state money for metro trains.
Bonding bills require three-fifths of the supermajority to pass because they leverage state debt to pay for projects. Both the Republicans and DFLers of the House and Senate had to vote on this issue.
Minnesota Republicans passed a $258 million tax cut for next year after failing in the previous legislative session.