Time Ticks Down On Minnesota Lawmakers With Budget Undone
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers scrambled Monday to finish piecing together a new budget in the final hours of the legislative session as the prospect loomed that they would need overtime.
The Legislature worked through Sunday night into Monday morning, passing budget bills that fund the state’s public universities, environmental agencies, economic development programs and more. But the largest, most controversial funding packages for public schools and health care were still up in the air ahead of a midnight deadline to adjourn.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders continued meeting Monday morning to try to iron out their remaining disputes, leaving little time to draft bills and send them for final approval.
After professing hope for a timely finish throughout a marathon weekend of negotiations, both sides were quiet on the session’s final day.
Whether lawmakers wrap up by midnight or spill into a special session, it was clear they were making headway.
A pending deal for a $660 million package of tax cuts, a top prize for the GOP, wouldn’t include tax credits for Minnesota students to attend private schools — a measure Dayton vowed would trigger his veto.
After pushing to delay Dayton’s water quality measure requiring buffer strips between farmland and public waters by two years, an environmental budget sent to the governor’s desk Sunday night would instead grant farmers an eight-month grace period to avoid fines or punishment.