By Ricky Campbell
House Speaker Kurt Daudt discusses details of the House/Senate joint budget targets during an April 28 news conference. Also pictured are, from left, House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, Sen. Julie Rosen, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Rep. Jim Knoblach. Photo by Paul Battaglia
The House and Senate Republican leaders on Friday unveiled their realigned budget targets as the clock ticks toward a May 22 constitutional deadline for completing legislative work.
Calling the numbers the halfway point between what leaders from each chamber wanted, Republicans said the joint $45.95 billion spending plan includes $1.15 billion in tax collection reductions and a $187 million spending reduction to government agencies, economic development funds and environmental programs.
The plan also includes spending $13.82 billion in health and human services — $2.05 billion above current levels — and a $1.14 billion increase in education spending.
The budget targets give a hard guideline to co-chairs of conference committees currently working to finalize spending bills. Both House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said committee leaders have until the end of Monday to work out differences in their proposed legislation and get a report to Gov. Mark Dayton for review by Thursday.