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Minnesota Legislature

Lawmakers, governor quiet as budget negotiations continue — and deadline draws near

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, left, Gov. Tim Walz, and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan head in for budget talks in the early afternoon May 16. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders remained tight-lipped Thursday as they again gathered in the State Capitol in an effort to hammer out a two-year budget deal. 

Talks between the governor, House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park), Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) and others got back underway at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday and ended before sunset. Negotiations stretched until 1 a.m. the night before.

The Senate Finance Committee moved an amended bill to its floor Thursday evening that would fund state government in the event of no agreement. No such bill has moved in the House.

House DFLers, Senate Republicans and Walz must reach a deal on the budget — and get that deal passed by both bodies — before midnight May 20 in order to avoid an increasingly common special session.

The two sides appeared far apart on several key issues earlier in the week — including Walz’s and the DFL’s commitment to a 20-cent increase in the state’s gas tax to fund a growing backlog of needed road and bridge maintenance. Republicans have said that, with a projected $1 billion surplus, tax increases are unnecessary.

Check back to Session Daily for continuing coverage of the final days of the 2019 session.


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