Dayton discusses meeting:
GOP leaders discuss meetings:
GOP leaders (take2)
DFL Governor Mark Dayton met with Republican legislative leaders today for the first time since state government shut down on Friday.
There didn’t appear to be much progress toward resolving the ongoing budget standoff during the hour long closed door meeting, but afterward Dayton called it constructive. Republican leaders again called on Dayton to pass a limited budget bill that would allow some parts of the government to reopen. GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said lawmakers could pass several budget bills like higher education and public safety.
“If you look at the numbers, you can see that they are very in agreement,” Koch told reporters several times. But she admitted that there are major differences on where to spend money in those respective budget bills and Republicans disagree with Dayton over policy matters.
Dayton told MPR News earlier today that it’s an exaggeration to suggest that they are close to an agreement on specific budget bills.
Meanwhile, GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers took some of their revenue raising options off the table.
“Our last offer was to turn the lights on,” Zellers said about negotiations. He said a plan to further delay payments to K-12 schools and borrow against future tobacco payments is no longer being considered at this time.
“Negotiations, whether you’re a lawyer or someone at the Capitol, if that’s been refused then it’s off the table,” Zellers said. If it’s asked to be put back on the table then we’ll consider it at that time.”
Dayton says he’s opposed to that because it would make it harder to negotiate the overall budget.
“There’s a tradeoff involved there. It’s not just about being difficult,” Dayton said. “It’s about saying that you’ve got to have the same desire to resolve everything as you do the ones that happen to be more popular.”
Dayton said he’s willing to consider any and all revenue possibilities to balance the state’s budget. “we’re all out of options,” Dayton said at one point.
The two sides are still about $1.8 billion dollars apart on a budget solution. Dayton says a tax increase on the state’s top earners is needed to close the gap. Republicans say they won’t agree to raise taxes.