Every two years, the Minnesota House and Senate have an important job to do: approve a bill that sets state government’s budget priorities.
And every two years, the same thing seems to happen: the legislature passes the bills, negotiations with the governor continue up to the end-of-session deadlines, and budget bills are ultimately passed with little or no time left to spare.
The House and Senate positioned themselves well this year, approving budget bills at the earliest point in time in session that anyone can remember. We did that to avoid what’s happened over the past several budget cycles, where the governor, Senate majority leader and House speaker, get together at the end and make a last ditch effort to pull a budget together at the last minute.
After the House and Senate reached a budget compromise several days ago, legislative leaders tried to get Governor Dayton to come to the table, hoping to put together joint spending targets on these bills before we passed them out of conference committee. He chose not to participate and never got seriously engaged.
So, we’re doing what the people want, which also happens to be our job – approve a budget.
That budget includes a number of very important provisions. $1.15 billion in tax relief to middle-class Minnesotans, including farmers, Main Street business owners, senior citizens and working families. $5 billion in new road and bridge funding without raising taxes. More than $1 billion in new revenue for our schools.
We’re going to send him these reports to the governor and encourage him to sign them into law so we can have the budget done early the way it was planned and the way Minnesotans want to see it happen.
If the governor is going to veto the bills, then its time for him to get serious. Enough of the piecemeal approach on our smallest budget bills. Give the Legislature a compromise offer on all of the budget bills. The Legislature has been ready for weeks to compromise and get the job done, and it’s time for Governor Dayton to join us.