Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt says DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is wasting time by refusing to engage in budget bill negotiations this week.

Daudt, R-Zimmerman, met privately Tuesday with Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to discuss budget matters. There are less than four weeks left in the 2017 session.

After the meeting, Daudt told reporters that the governor still insists on waiting until House and Senate negotiators resolve their differences before he joins the talks. Daudt made it clear that he doesn’t like the governor’s approach.

“He changed his position and now he’s sitting out one full week,” Daudt said. “We’re not coming to joint targets together. That’s been pushed back now another week. To me, that’s reckless and irresponsible.”

Conference committees are currently working on budget bills that passed in their respective chambers earlier than usual. Despite that cushion, Daudt said he thinks Dayton is trying to gain leverage by intentionally delaying resolution of the budget bills until the end of session.

“I just don’t think that’s right, and I think it’s wrong for the governor to do that,” he said.

Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said much of the meeting with Dayton focused on four bills: agriculture, jobs, legacy and transportation. He said those bills could be among the easiest to resolve.

Gazelka would also prefer three-way negotiations this week to reach budget targets. But he said he will adapt to the governor’s approach.

“We’re going to move as fast as we can and do it in a transparent way,” Gazelka said.

Dayton did not speak with reporters after the meeting. But he later released this statment:

“Speaker Daudt’s accusations are unfounded. I have made very clear the parameters of my engagement, both in writing and in two meetings with him and Senator Gazelka during the past five days. The House and Senate need to reconcile their differences in Conference Committee reports that establish the Legislature’s positions on the biennial budget and policy changes. I presented a balanced budget, reflecting my priorities in January (amended in March). When they have done the same, we can begin to resolve our differences. However, I have been very clear that I will not negotiate with two different House and Senate budget bills, neither of which have been vetted for accuracy by MMB.”

State Rep. Alice Hausman of St. Paul and other DFL lawmakers stressed the need for a bonding bill this session. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

With less than a month left in the 2017 session, Democrats in the Minnesota House are warning that a bonding bill is needed soon to avoid a repeat of last year’s final-night chaos.

Last year, a dispute between the House and Senate over light rail prevented a package public construction projects from crossing the finish line. The last time a bonding bill was signed into law was 2015.

During a news conference Tuesday, Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, said last session’s hastily-written bill was full of errors. Hausman urged House Republican leaders to release their 2017 bonding proposal now to allow time for proper scrutiny.

“It would be foolish to head down this failed, rushed path again,” Hausman said. “We’re here because the closer we get to the end of the session, that’s what we fear, that we’re heading down that same path.”

Republicans will need some DFL votes to reach the super majority threshold needed to pass bonding bills. Without a bill, Hausman couldn’t predict the DFL support.

“It has to be fair, and you don’t know if it’s fair if you don’t have time to look at it,” she said.

Hausman noted several local projects remain in limbo due to the lack of a bonding bill. She said some are in jeopardy of losing federal money.

One of the projects is an airport runway reconstruction in Duluth.

“We really need to get this done,” said Rep. Liz Olson, DFL-Duluth.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, said Tuesday that bonding bill will likely be released in the next seven days.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton released his $1.5 billion bonding proposal back in January. The Republican-controlled Senate has a smaller plan ready to go.

Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Let’s take a look at the Digest.

1. The Republican-controlled Minnesota House passed a pair of abortion measures Monday that DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has threatened to veto. One bill would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions under state-sponsored health care programs. The other would set new licensing and inspection requirements for clinics where abortions are performed. Supporters of the licensing bill, including the group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, say it is not aimed at restricting abortions. They say it will ensure the safety of patients. Dayton vetoed a similar bill in 2012. (MPR News)

2. A Minneapolis city council committee approved a plan Monday to cover the city’s costs associated with the Super Bowl in 2018. The city has to coordinate law enforcement — some of which will come from other cities, and the state and federal governments — as well as things like health inspections and special traffic signs. The total excess cost to the city was estimated at $5 million. The tentative agreement calls for the Super Bowl’s host committee to cover certain city expenses incurred during events that are scheduled to run from Jan. 26 through game day on Feb. 4. “We’re really fortunate to have a lot of corporate partners who have stepped up to make this event possible in our market,” said Andrea Mokros, vice president of the host committee. “We’re always looking for more. This will be an effort that goes on throughout the year.” (MPR News)

3. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said Monday she is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. In a post on the Facebook page of “Survivors of the Twin Cities: You are not alone,” Hodges said she was breaking her silence so that other abuse survivors know they are not alone. “I was abused by adults unrelated to me for many years, starting when I was eight years old,” Hodges wrote. “My family did not know. I believed — was threatened into believing — that the slightest indication that anything was amiss would jeopardize the safety of everyone and everything I loved. No one knew until I told them early in my sobriety — not my friends, not my family.” She said the abuse helps explain how she could have been an alcoholic by the age of 19. “No one has ever really asked me how one gets to be that far gone that young,” she said. (Star Tribune)

4. An article on a State Department website about President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds. Critics complained that resources were being used to tout the for-profit club, which Trump refers to as the Winter White House. The club, in Palm Beach, Fla., is held in Trump’s trust, of which he is the sole beneficiary.
“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the president has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post,” a State Department official said in a statement that has now replaced the original article. (NPR)

5. President Trump has instructed advisers to drastically cut the corporate tax rate even though doing so will expand the deficit and grow the national debt. Trump wants the corporate tax rate to be lowered from 35 percent to 15 percent, a senior White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. This is the same rate that Trump pursued during his 2016 campaign, but officials had not signaled since the election whether he would stick to the pledge. By doing so — but not committing to measures that would offset the revenue loss — Trump is making clear he is putting a priority on cutting taxes over the national debt. It also potentially creates a tension point with House Republicans, who have spent years advancing a vision for tax restructuring of their own. (Washington Post)