Republican leaders at the Legislature say they are willing to match Gov. Mark Dayton‘s numbers for the K-12 education, public safety and judiciary budget bills.
The move after budget talks Monday evening is the GOP’s first new offer since passing the now-vetoed $34 billion spending plan near the end of the regular session in May, and moves the governor’s way in spending about $80 million more on education and $30 million more on the courts and public safety. But GOP leaders emphasized that the offer does not include any net increase in state spending.
“Governor, we’re coming all the way to you — 100 percent,” Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said of the funding, adding that there are still “points of discussion” in integration aid and special ed funding in the education budget.
“This is a substantial offer on our part to accept the governor’s funding requests for half of the entire state budget. We’re together on overall spending for kids, cops and courts, and we’re doing it within the framework of what we have in the checkbook. It doesn’t spend beyond what we can already afford,” House Speaker Kurt Zellers said in a news release. “Education is a priority for all of us, he wants funding and we want reform. This offer does both – it funds at his level and includes our reforms.”
Despite the movement, Dayton has rejected any negotiations on certain budget sectors absent an agreement on a total spending figure, and turned down Republican’s request that he call a special session this week to consider their new, partial offer. Officials will meet on transportation funding today.
– Maggi McDermott contributed to this report