Engage key leaders in the budget stalemate

I’d hoped that I wouldn’t have to send out this newsletter. I’d hoped that the negotiations under the “cone of silence” at the end of June would yield a resolution to the state budget impasse as both sides stared into the abyss. I’d hoped that once we went into a government shutdown, if that was what was needed to spark movement, that it would be brief. Continue Reading

Pain of shutdown reminder to focus on preventing it

Today and tomorrow the Governor is scheduled to meet in all day talks with legislative leaders in an attempt to reach a solution. Yesterday a host of lawyers representing different interests — the Governor office, the Attorney General’s, both the House and Senate, and various interest groups — appeared in Ramsey County District Court in front of Judge Gearin. Continue Reading

Legislating through constitutional amendments

While the pace of legislative business has been odd this week it’s clear that the clock is ticking. The Minnesota Legislature has 17 days to pass a budget that deals with our $5 billion deficit. Budget conference committees have made very little progress over the last several weeks. In some instances they have not even agreed to language in the two bills that are identical.

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‘End game’ in the MN Legislature

With the legislature back from its annual Easter/Passover break conference committees are meeting. Discussion at the Capitol is moving to “the end game”. The end game is how the legislature and Governor eventually, after all the political posturing, resolve the state’s budget and policy challenges by the legislative deadline. Most years people can see how the session might end early on. Continue Reading

Omnibus bills target central cities

It’s been omnibus bill week here at the Capitol, as the Republican majority has released several of their major budget bills dealing with education, taxes, health and human services, state government, transportation and so on and passed them out of committees. Next week all these bills will come to the House floor for action there. Continue Reading

Budget debate heats up

Since I last wrote about the events at the Capitol, the budget debate has continued to heat up. The February forecast released by the Minnesota Management and Budget Office showed our budget deficit shrinking from $6.2 billion to $5 billion. Governor Dayton then immediately revised his budget. Then just last week, on March 10, the Republicans released their budget targets. Continue Reading