Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders broke off talks tonight at 9:30. There are no more talks scheduled for tonight and no talks scheduled for tomorrow. The two sides have one more full day to reach a budget deal or state government shuts down.
“We do not have a deal,” Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said.
He said they are close on many areas. He declined to provide specifics.
“We’re absolutely committed to getting this finished, to completing our work. We just need a little help from the governor to call us back.”
Michel renewed his call for Gov. Dayton to call a special session so lawmakers could at least pass a bill that would keep government running. Dayton, who made no public comments on Wednesday, has said he won’t call lawmakers back until they agree to a full budget deal.
Today’s budget talks were considered important because Dayton told reporters earlier this week that a deal had to be in place by Wednesday night to avert a shutdown. His spokesman was mum on whether Dayton thought a shutdown was inevitable now that a deal wasn’t reached.
“We’re continuing to work to avoid that,” Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said of a looming shutdown.
Dayton and legislative leaders met privately through the day with committee chairs and commissioners who focus on K12 schools and Health and Human Services programs.
The two sides are at odds over the best way to craft a two year budget. Dayton wants to erase a $5 billion budget deficit by raising income taxes on top earners. Republicans say they can erase the deficit through spending cuts. State government shuts down at midnight if the two sides fail to do their work.
GOP leaders say Republicans are preparing to come back to St. Paul on Thursday with hopes that a budget deal can be reached. The move is also a public relations effort to emphasize that the GOP controlled Legislature wants to get back to work.
State government will shut down at midnight Thursday if a budget deal is not reached.