Lawmakers to use break for budget pitches

Minnesota lawmakers will spend much of their Easter/Passover break this week talking to the public about state budget issues.

DFL House and Senate leaders say they’ll be making the case for raising new tax revenue to erase the deficit and spend on education and other priorities. They outlined their budget targets last week. House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he expects a smooth process in the coming weeks to resolve the budget differences among the House, Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton.

“Because we’re pretty close on our overall values where we want to make investments and our overall spending targets, I think it will actually progress more smoothly.” Thissen said. “I imagine there will continue to be some discussions where we need to work out details, but we hope to keep the process as public as possible. There will be conference committees and all that good stuff.”

Republicans say they spend time this week making a case against the DFL budget approach. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said he plans to travel throughout the state pointing out the problems he sees with the proposals.

“Minnesota’s economy is recovery and Minnesota’s economy is creating jobs, and it’s happening because we didn’t raise taxes over the last couple of years,,” Daudt said. “So, our case is if we raise taxes, we’re going to stop that from happening, and it’s going to be bad for Minnesota’s economy and it’s bad for hard working Minnesota families.”

Gov. Dayton will also spend time this week making the case for his tax and spending proposal. Dayton has a town hall meeting scheduled Monday in Moorhead, and another Tuesday in St. Cloud.