Today GOP legislative leaders met with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to discuss talk about the budget. As part of that meeting, they proposed an aggressive budget negotiation schedule throughout this month aimed at getting a deal in place so lawmakers could be called back for a special session that would start June 27. If lawmakers and the governor cannot work out a deal on solving the state's projected $5 billion budget deficit by June 30, there will be a government shutdown on July 1.
Click here to Download Budget negotiation schedule
The Star Tribune reports that both the governor and GOP leaders described the meeting as productive. But the big disagreement over whether or not to raise revenues to solve the budget gap remains. Dayton has proposed raising $1.8 billion in income taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent. He has said he is willing to consider other revenue options. Republicans have said they will not go above their $34 billion budget, which is based on expected state revenues.
Meanwhile, one area senator had his own meeting with the governor. Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, had lunch with Dayton yesterday, which he described as productive. He said he offered some ideas on how the budget dispute could be resolved. One idea Howe is pushing is changing how the state gets its revenue. He said the state needs to move away from relying so heavily on property and income taxes and instead look at getting more of its money from a consumer-based tax like the sales tax. He said that might offer an avenue for negotiations.
"We have to find something that is achievable. I think just raising income taxes is not achievable, and I think we need to work together and we have to find a way that makes sense and provides a stable funding environment."