ST. PAUL — Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, 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.
Lueck 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 have lived up to our side of the agreement, but we can only make progress if the governor becomes actively engaged in the process,” Lueck said. “We welcomed the governor and his staff to participate in the process but, to his point, all we have seen is delay tactics. It is our intention to avoid an end-of-session train wreck, but the governor must come to the table and be part of the solution as we finish our work. We cannot afford any further dilly-dallying with only three weeks left in the session.
“The House and Senate have worked in good faith to bring budget bills to this point weeks earlier than what is customary. This was done with the intent of allowing more time to iron out differences and lessen the crunch leading up to adjournment. But that only works if the governor engages in the process, including meeting Thursday’s deadline. Minnesotans are counting on him to do so, so that we can enact meaningful tax relief, and make significant investments in our roads and bridges.”
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.