ST. PAUL — Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, 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.
Swedzinski 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.
“We held up our end of the bargain by providing preliminary approval of a complete state budget three weeks earlier than usual,” Swedzinski said. “This was a good-faith effort on the part of the Legislature to avoid some of the time crunch that happens late in sessions, but we cannot afford for the governor to remain on the sidelines. Minnesotans are relying on us to pass important bills such as tax relief and new investments in roads and bridges, but we need the governor to quit dragging his feet and become involved for that to happen.”
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.