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Dayton, leaders say deal is near for August special session

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, voices optimism at the prospect of a special session after meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton, right, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (not pictured) and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, left, July 15. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders said Friday they expect to hold a special session in mid- to late-August to pass at least a corrected tax bill and public works borrowing bill.

Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) met for roughly two hours in St. Paul, and announced afterwards that they are nearing agreement on major issues that have deadlocked lawmakers since legislators adjourned their regular session nearly two months ago.

Daudt said legislative leaders are working toward finding agreement in time for a special session to be held the third week of August.

“We’re not totally there,” Daudt told reporters, “but we’re making very good progress.”

LISTEN Audio of leadership reaction following Friday's meeting

Dayton, a DFLer, pocket vetoed a $259 million package of tax cuts last month over an error that would have cost the state an estimated $100 million had it been enacted into law.

A $1 billion bonding bill has also tied up lawmakers since its failure in the waning moments of session May 22, with Dayton calling for a number of projects to be added as part of any special session agreement.

While details remain to be agreed upon — including the fate of funding for the proposed Southwest Light Rail project that has helped complicate negotiations — Dayton, Daudt and Bakk all expressed confidence a deal is close.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Dayton said. “And, the will is there to work out these final details.” 

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