GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers says “a little overtime” for the legislative session to get a budget deal worked out “probably would be all right.”
Zellers spoke on MPR’s Midday, saying a combination of a large budget deficit and large numbers of new legislators in new House and Senate bodies justify a little extra time.
“I think there’s a difference between overtime and a special session,” Zellers said, adding that it’s still too early to talk about contingency plans in case of a government shutdown.
Gov. Mark Dayton said he’s “extremely pessimistic” a budget deal can be reached by today’s midnight deadline. He also hinted that a special session might not happen right away.
Dayton reiterated that he has scaled back his tax increase proposal, saying a compromise “means agreeing to things you don’t agree with.”
“I’m still standing at the halfway mark waiting for them to budge a dollar,” he said.
Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch argued on Midday that Republicans have already compromised by agreeing to spend more overall than two years ago. They say tax increases aren’t an option.
“This is the largest state budget in the history of the state,” Koch told Midday.
Dayton and GOP leaders say meetings between legislators and the governor’s office will continue today.
“If we’re making some good progress, it might be best to just get back to work,” Koch said of working past the midnight deadline.