Gov. Dayton is expected to hold a signing ceremony this morning. He will sign the 12 budget and spending bills at the event, putting an end to a state government shutdown that is in its 20th day. Dayton will take the action after the Minnesota Legislature worked into the early morning hours to pass the bills. Dayton called a special session on Tuesday afternoon for them to start their work.
Democrats in both the House and Senate criticized the methods used to balance the state’s budget. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders relied on a mix of spending cuts, an extended payment delay to K12 schools and borrowing against future tobacco payments to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, said he wasn’t happy the state was borrowing money to fix the state’s budget deficit.
“This budget, this tax bill, mocks Minnesota,” Davnie said. “It takes us to places we’ve never gone before because we knew they were the wrong places to go. To pay ten dollars for every seven dollars we borrow. It’s irresponsible spending.”
Republicans, who said the budget deal isn’t perfect, are focusing on the methods used to rein in government spending.
“We’re going to run on this budget,” GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said. “We’re going to talk about erasing a $5 billion forecast deficit without raising taxes. That’s a big thing.”
Koch said she’s optimistic that Republican lawmakers will be able to pass other measures that change how government operates when they return for the 2012 legislative session.
But they still have at least one disagreement as they end the 2011 session and it’s over the size of the state’s two year budget..
Republicans say they stuck to their pledge to spend only $34 billion over the next two years. The Dayton Administration says the tally is $35.7 billion. The difference depends on how you account for the shifts and borrowing.