There won’t be any breakthrough deals on the main issues being debated between Governor Dayton and legislative leaders. The Minnesota House adjourned this afternoon after doing limited work on the floor. The House is scheduled to come back in session on Saturday at 3p.m.
GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean said legislative leaders are continuing to negotiate with Gov. Dayton on a tax bill and a public works construction bill. He said the focus on negotiations is on getting a deal that Gov. Dayton will sign.
“It’s like the last two minutes of a basketball game. It’s a lot of starting and stopping and waiting,” Dean said.
Legislative leaders have met privately with Gov. Dayton’s staff throughout the day. A spokeswoman for Dayton said he did not attend any of those meetings. Dayton is scheduled to do a comedy sketch at MinnPost’s fundraising event, known as MinnRoast, tonight.
It appears that we’re at the point in the legislative session where legislative leaders are hoping that their opponent is the first to blink. Gov. Dayton and Democrats are pushing for a Vikings stadium and a bonding bill that spends more than $500 million.
Republicans are pushing for a tax bill that cuts business and residential property taxes.
The negotiations come at a time when GOP leaders are inching closer to a self-imposed deadline to adjourn. Dean said they’re aiming to complete their work on Monday. But Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, says there isn’t enough time to get all of their work done.
“It’s pretty clear to me that we’re going to be in session next week,” Lanning said. “The Monday adjournment is unrealistic because we’ve got too much unfinished business that’s going to take longer than that.”
Lanning, co-author of the Vikings stadium bill, said it’s clear GOP leaders want to get some sort of agreement on a bonding bill and a tax bill before they start plowing forward with the stadium bill.
“There has to be a resolution in sight,” Lanning said. “Not that we have to have something passed but at least an agreement among the three major players here is required before we can keep moving.”
And that means DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen has a bigger seat at the table. Republicans in both the House and Senate need DFL votes to pass a bonding bill. The last offer put forward by Democrats spent $686 million. Republicans countered with a $496 million bill that included more projects that could attract DFL votes. A person with knowledge of the GOP offer also said it still includes $77 million for the Capitol restoration but does not include funding for the Southwest Light Rail line or regional civic centers
Thissen said he’d like to see a bonding bill that includes funding for downtown regional centers, the Southwest LRT and more money for higher education. Thissen wouldn’t commit to how much he’d like to see spent from the bonding bill.
“It depends on what projects are in there and then the size of the bill depends on what projects fit within it,” Thissen said.
The debate over the Tax bill and bonding bill is being held at the same time as the Senate Tax Committee is discussing the Vikings stadium bill. If the committee approves the bill, it would be the last committee stop before the bill is considered by the full Senate.