Republican leaders offered to drop their plans for nearly $203 million in tax relief in a bid to help bring budget talks closer to a deal, but Gov. Mark Dayton rejected the offer.
The new proposal by House and Senate Republican leaders would match Dayton’s spending plan in several budget areas. It incorporates an earlier offer to increase spending on K-12 education, public safety and courts.
“We have presented what I would probably call the biggest compromise of the negotiations,” said House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove). “We have withdrawn 100 percent of our request for tax relief.”
Dropping the tax cuts would add nearly $203 million to the state’s bottom line. In exchange, the leaders said they want Dayton to drop his request for $1.8 billion in new tax revenue.
Dayton dismissed the offer as a ploy and said the Republicans “haven’t budged one dollar.”
“The Republican leadership’s non-proposal is extremely, extremely disappointing,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo) said Republicans will rescind the offer Monday, June 20, unless Dayton offers a detailed counter-proposal. She added that many Republicans didn’t want to give up the tax relief part of their budget.
“It’s an additional $200 million in spending — spending that our members were not interested in doing,” she said.
Dayton said he would not negotiate specific budget areas until Republicans agree to meet him halfway on his request for new revenue. He also rejected a Republican proposal to hold a brief special session to fund transportation projects, nursing homes and what Koch deemed “life and safety” issues. The governor said he wants a full budget agreement before calling a special session.
Asked what the next step is in budget negotiations, he said he didn’t know.
“I can’t say what I’m going to do,” Dayton said.
Neither the leaders nor the governor said when they would meet for the next round of talks. Current biennial funding runs out June 30.