Leaders, governor announce schedule for negotiations


Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton have agreed to a tentative schedule for budget negotiations, but are no closer to an actual deal.

During a breakfast meeting at the Governor’s Residence, the Republican legislators proposed a “budget negotiation schedule” to wrap up budget talks in time to prevent a government shutdown. Dayton said he agreed to the schedule, but warned that the planned meetings would be “just for show” unless Republicans agreed to raise new tax revenues.

“We need to agree on a number for the final budget,” Dayton said.

Under the agreed-to plan, meetings will begin Monday, June 6, and continue throughout the month. Dayton will meet with legislative leaders several times a week, and his administration will also meet with committee chairs to work out differences on individual budget bills.

Republicans called for a special session June 27-29. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel (R-Edina) said Republicans are open to “multiple scenarios,” including a potential lights-on bill that would keep government running while negotiations continue. But Dayton said he will not call lawmakers back into session without a full, global budget agreement.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) reiterated Republican lawmakers’ opposition to raising taxes to balance the budget. He said the Republicans’ $34 billion budget plan is already the largest on record.

“This is the largest budget in the state of Minnesota’s history — the largest budget ever,” Zellers said.

Meanwhile, Dayton said the Republicans’ proposed budget is not large enough, and would mean cutting many services for Minnesotans.

“I look at it with great alarm,” he said.