GOP rank and file cautious on budget deal

GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers and GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch say they will deliver the votes needed to pass the budget agreement they reached with Gov. Dayton.

“We would not be uncomfortably offering up a solution if we did not have at least a good working relationship with our caucuses on what the solution would be and what it would mean to not only get the shutdown ended but get ourselves back into special session.” – GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers

“We believe the caucus will ultimately support this,” – GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch

But GOP leaders may have to do a little bit of arm twisting in the coming days.

MPR contacted several GOP lawmakers who said they aren’t sure they’ll back the bill.

Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) says she’s not happy the deal extends the K12 school payment delay and borrows against future tobacco payments so she’s not sure she’ll back it. But she believes it’s a political victory that Gov. Dayton lost his push for a tax increase to balance the budget.

“The fact that we are able to walk away without a tax increase is very huge,” Franson said. “The nation is watching Minnesota. We’ve got issues on the federal level. Had we caved into a tax increase it would have sent a message to the entire United States.”

Franson said she’ll wait to see the specifics before she decides to vote for the budget plan. Several others are also taking the wait and see approach.

“I’m optimistic with reservation,” Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) said as he voiced the same frustration that the deal includes borrowing and an accounting shift.

Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) declined comment until he knew more about what’s in the deal. He has said he won’t support a budget plan that spends $35 billion. Rep. Bob Barrett (R-Shafer) said he didn’t want to comment until he knows specifics.

Some Republicans say they’re inclined to support the deal.

“I don’t think any side is going to get near what they wanted,” Rep. Tim Sanders (R- Blaine) said. “Now we have to do what’s right, get people to back to work and get that state back open again.”

GOP leaders may have to rely on their party to make sure bills become law. DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said it’s unlikely that his caucus will support the measure.

“It’s the Republican plan. They should accept it,” Thissen said. “They’re the majority and they should be able to pass their own budget.”

Thissen said he did think several Democrats would vote for a bonding bill. That bill needs a 3/5ths majority to become law.

  • John

    Yeah, I mean, I can see why they’d be cautious. They only got 99% of what they wanted, so best to throw a childish fit about the 1% that didn’t go completely their way.

  • ed from golden valley

    This will be a hard vote for the majority caucus. They are up for election before Mark Dayton, actually he doesn’t really need to run again.

    Republicans and the worn out family kitchen table analogy.

    Even though Mom and Dad have insisted all along that the finacial crunch is a spending issue, they finally admit that the solution will require more income. But instead of owning the problem and finding an adult way out they…

    Take money from the account that was set aside for their kids education. Which may or may not get paid back but will certainly cost in penalty and interest.

    They also take out a loan against a future inheritance (tobbaco loan) costing interest and what should have been a windfall to improve their lives will now be a future debt.

    Sorry, but they are neither a finacially or politically astute family.

  • EatThePoor

    Well thank god the republicans protected the 7,700 millionaires in Minnesota from paying a little more taxes. At least they are tireless in the efforts to see that .3% of the population is safe. Screw the other 99.6% of the state – they aren’t even millionaires!

  • kevin

    crazy how everyone wants to take from the rich, class warfare at its best. I know people that moved to this state to collect welfare because the benefits are so good maybe we need to look at reforming our free money train. Another thing thats really funny is the tax the rich people never talk about trustfund babys like dayton why don’t we take there trustfunds to balance our budget. I think everyone should pay the same tax one flat tax poor and rich pay the same……..