May is a busy month for legislators at the Capitol, but it also is a time when many school groups come to St. Paul to tour this cherished, century-old Minnesota icon.
Students from Canby (pictured above) were among recent visitors and I was happy to meet up with them, so please let me know if you plan to come on a trip of your own so we can arrange a visit as the schedule allows.
As for legislative work, budget negotiations continue to be at an impasse. The major factor in causing this logjam is that House Democrats and the governor continue insisting on raising taxes by $12 billion when there is a state surplus of $1 billion and growing.
This approach is unacceptable and Democrats are going to have to move on from their tax increases if we are going to reach agreement on a budget anytime soon. It looks more and more as though the Democrats’ unwillingness to abandon their extreme tax increases will mean the state will be without a new two-year budget when the legislative deadline to adjourn arrives on Monday. That would force a special session to finish this work or even cause a state shutdown July 1.
I remain optimistic an agreement will be reached sometime soon. It’s hard to fathom Democrats pushing this much longer because natural economic growth will leave an extra 7 percent available for them to spend without raising taxes by a single penny. At some point the Democrats will have to explain to Minnesotans why 7 percent more isn’t enough and they are holding out to get an additional $12 billion in tax increases.
We anticipate working through the weekend to make progress on the budget and I will be in touch as things develop.
Until then, let’s hope some dryer weather is around the corner so farmers can get in the fields to do some planting. More rain forecast for much of the state this weekend isn’t going to help the cause.