In order for a bill to become law - or in the case of our budget, several spending bills – the House, Senate, and governor all must agree on the bill’s language.
Currently we are in a situation where the House and Senate have negotiated budget bills so we can conclude session on time, and we remain well ahead of schedule. Governor Dayton has finally begun to participate.
In the House, we approved our omnibus bills three weeks ago and we had a commitment from the governor to get involved in negotiating, especially when it came to final spending targets.
Up until this point, the governor had chosen to remain silent and had not allowed his commissioners to negotiate either.
These lost weeks would have given us more time in trying to accommodate some of the governor's requirements. With his reluctance to participate, we are finding the remaining weeks critical in moving along the crucial negotiations. I am sure he would prefer to sign the bills that pass, but we have to remember the legislature is responsible for actually passing the bill, so we need to have everybody on board.
It appears incremental progress is being made and I’m hopeful things will continue to intensify over the coming days. Our conference committees have completed their work, and with his full participation we could certainly send him bills that he can sign very quickly.
We're eager to begin working toward three-way targets and hope the governor is prepared to compromise and establish targets with the legislature so we can finish our work.
With the clock ticking, and with all sides now apparently ready to sit at the table, it’s time to craft a compromise budget and get the job done.