Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Recent News
Home / Budget / Taxes / Legislature, Dayton fail to reach a budget deal
With labor protesters chanting loudly outside the Minnesota House and Senate chambers, the clock struck midnight and ended the 2011 regular legislative session Monday evening with no deal to solve the $5 billion budget deficit and wide divide between the GOP-controlled Legislature and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on how to close the gap.

Legislature, Dayton fail to reach a budget deal

Speaker Zellers on the floor after the House adjourned early Tuesday morning.

With labor protesters chanting loudly outside the Minnesota House and Senate chambers, the clock struck midnight and ended the 2011 regular legislative session Monday evening with no deal to solve the $5 billion budget deficit and wide disagreement between the GOP-controlled Legislature and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on how to close the gap.

As session came to a close,  legislators ran down the clock debating the Legacy bill in the House, while the Senate finished with closing remarks and 15 minutes to spare. Dayton was absent from the Capitol. Legislators will be summoned back to St. Paul for a special session at a time of Dayton’s choosing to finalize a budget deal.

In a news conference just hours before session close, GOP leaders from both chambers repeated their stance from earlier in the week, saying they finished their budget proposals on time and now expect the governor to act in a timely fashion. “We have done our job,” Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said, surrounded by members of the Senate GOP caucus. “The bills are on his desk.”

The two parties have been at odds all session over revenue, with Dayton pushing for tax increases to help solve the deficit, and Republicans siding squarely with cuts and government spending reforms.

“It’s only 9 p.m. There’s three hours to go. We are here and our members are here…the governor’s office door seems to be closed,” Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel said. “We still kind of find it hard to believe that the governor would threaten a shutdown for more government and more taxes.”

As GOP leaders spoke, union protesters from MAPE and AFSCME lined up behind them, holding signs that read, “Tax the richest 2 percent,” and “We want to work.”

Dayton issued a statement just after midnight, saying he was disappointed in the outcome, but remains “resolved” that the two parties will find common ground.

“One week ago, I offered a fair and balanced compromise: to meet half-way between our two budget proposals,” the governor wrote, referring to his move to cut his proposed tax increase from more than $3 billion to $1.8 billion. “The Legislature refused to compromise, or even to budge one dollar from their position. Here we are, on the last night of session – I’m in the middle, and they haven’t moved.”

At a news conference earlier Monday, Dayton said he was not inclined to call the House and Senate back for a special session until the framework of a deal is in place.

Republican leadership plans to do a six-city fly around on Tuesday to encourage the governor to sign their budget bills.

About Briana Bierschbach

Leave a Reply