Legislators, governor seek deal on taxes, bonding, stadium

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Legislative leaders are attempting to negotiate a session-ending deal with Gov. Mark Dayton, but a two-hour meeting in the governor’s office yielded few signs of progress.

Lawmakers are poised to miss their self-imposed April 30 adjournment deadline as they try to resolve the three major pieces of legislation left in the session: an omnibus tax bill, a bonding bill and money for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Dayton said today’s meeting focused mainly on the “significant differences” that remain between himself and Republican leaders on the issue of taxes. Republicans support a tax relief package that would borrow from the state’s cash reserves. They argue their plan will boost private-sector jobs, but Dayton calls their approach “fiscally irresponsible.”

House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) said the tax bill and the bonding bill are the Republicans’ top priorities, and suggested that a vote on the proposed Vikings stadium might have to wait until those other two issues are resolved. Asked how long it might take for the Legislature to conclude its business, Zellers replied, “an extra day or two.”

“I’m going to quit guessing on dates,” he said.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) said Republicans are “holding the Vikings stadium hostage.” He said all three of the remaining major bills should stand or fall on their own merit, and said the Republicans’ tax bill would add to next year’s projected budget deficit.

Dayton and legislative leaders were scheduled to meet again later tonight, but no further details were given.