Source: Pioneer Press
Minnesota legislators blasted past their midnight deadline Monday to get their work done — but will come back immediately to finish the job.
Forty-five minutes before their constitutionally mandated end of this year’s five-month legislative session, Republican legislative leaders joined with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to announce they had reached a deal on how much money to spend on tax cuts, transportation, health and human services and public schools.
The deal means a liberal Democratic governor looking to preserve state programs and his legacy and a newly powerful Republican legislative majority aiming to shift Minnesota to the right managed to agree on how to spend $46 billion over the next two years.
Dayton said he agreed to call lawmakers into special session just past the stroke of midnight. The agreement means they will have until Wednesday morning to approve a $990 million state building measure, an $18 billion school budget and around $14 billion for health and human services programs.
Lawmakers have been working on the state’s budget for months, but they ran out of time before their midnight deadline to negotiate and approve budget bills funding public schools, health and human services, roads and bridges and tax cuts. Those measures make up about 70 percent of the state’s budget.
Dayton and Republican lawmakers’ biggest disagreement in the education area had been over how much to spend on which preschool programs and how to spend it. Over the weekend, Dayton persuaded Republicans to drop a provision that would give tax breaks for donations to help low-income students attend private schools. Many public school advocates opposed the measure.