ST. PAUL — Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, is urging Gov. Mark Dayton to work with legislative leaders to reach joint agreement on budget targets for the 2018-19 budget by this Thursday.
Nornes noted that legislative leaders agreed to and met Dayton’s requests to pass budget bills by March 31 and establish legislative targets by April 28, and indicates agreement by Thursday will ensure a smooth and orderly end to the legislative session.
“The Legislature is about three weeks ahead of the typical schedule in terms of its work on budget bills,” Nornes said. “Now it is time for the governor to reciprocate by becoming involved in the process. It is a bit disappointing he and his agency leaders have mainly been spectators to this point because Minnesotans are waiting for us to pass important bills such as tax relief and new investments in roads and bridges. The fact the Legislature lived up to its side of the deal only helps us if the governor follows suit and becomes engaged in a timely manner.”
On Friday, House and Senate leaders unveiled agreements on budget targets for the 2018-19 budget, meeting an April 28 deadline outlined by Dayton early last month. The targets include $1.15 billion in tax relief, $372 million in new, ongoing funding for road and bridge infrastructure, and more than $1.1 billion in increased funding for K-12 schools compared with the previous two-year budget.
Conference committees have met for the last two weeks and are meeting early this week to hold public hearings on the agreed-upon House and Senate budget. Language and spreadsheets for each of the Legislative budget bills can be found publicly here.
Dayton’s commissioners have refused to engage and negotiate on his behalf, despite repeated requests by the Legislature. At a Friday press conference, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, requested that Dayton work with the House and Senate to meet a deadline of Thursday to establish global budget targets. The Legislature remains well ahead of schedule and has continued to focus on avoiding the last-minute lawmaking which has occurred during every budget session of Dayton’s tenure.