Dayton, DFL leaders still looking for budget deal

Gov. Mark Dayton met privately today with House and Senate DFL leaders to discuss the state budget, but they have not yet reached an end-of-session agreement.

The session has to end on May 20.

“Everything is in play,” said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook.

Following the 90 minute meeting, Bakk told reporters that they’re still trying to agree on a global number on new tax revenue. He said that number is needed to set the spending targets for each piece of the budget. Among the big differences to resolve, Bakk pointed to the House tax bill provision that uses a temporary income tax surcharge on top earners to pay back the $850 million owed to schools from previous budget deals.

“We’re still talking about the big pieces, things like the school shift,” Bakk said. “Are we going to try to get the school shift repaid in this biennium? There are big pieces that effect big pieces of revenue.”

Bakk said they’re also still discussing the Senate’s sales tax expansion, which neither the House nor the governor supported.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said they’ve been talking about the budget in very broad terms. Thissen said he’s hoping for an agreement on budget targets as soon as possible.

“I’m sure there is a drop dead date. But I don’t think we’re approaching that, yet,” Thissen said.

Another meeting with Gov. Dayton is scheduled tonight, but neither of the DFL leaders said they thought a deal was imminent.