Hammering out budget deficit slow going

Earlier this week, two bills addressing the state’s $935 million budget shortfall went to conference committee. Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, and Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, are hammering out some common ground between HF1812 and SF3813, something Cohen has said is not a pleasant process.

How’s it going? S-L-O-W, according to Sen. Tarryl Clark, assistant majority leader in the Senate. “It’s moving slower than I think we would have liked originally,” Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said at a media conference today. “We would have liked it by the end of next week, but …”

Asked about some sticking points, Clark was vague, but took a swipe at Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who apparently made a surprise trip out of state today. “There are a number of provisions we’d like to get a better handle on,” Clark said. “The governor’s focus may be a stumbling block.”

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