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Budget talks progressing — deal by weekend?

No budget deal at the Capitol yet, but there have been some new agreements forged in the last 24 hours or so — there’s been progress even though it might not seem like it. By Friday evening, there was talk of an agreement over the weekend.
Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have agreed to a number of things in fixing the state’s $935 million shortfall. (Which is actually $998 million if you count spending in bills passed this session, and nearly $1.2 billion forecast for fiscal year 2010-11.)
According to a sheet passed to reporters last night, DFL and GOP lawmakers and Pawlenty have agreed to spend $500 million of the roughly $650 million the state has in reserves. All parties have agreed to some $285 million in spending cuts and revenues from the original omnibus supplemental budget bill passed in House File 1812 earlier this session.

While these numbers change with the wind, it’s safe to assume about $193 million more is needed for all parties to sign off on a deal.
Some speculation is that $129 million will come from a now-closed tax loophole for foreign-operating companies doing business in the state, along with an “accelerated” state sales tax payment in June.
And DFLers and Pawlenty are creeping closer on some other issues. At about 3:15, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark told reporters things were still going well in at least two areas.
First, Pawlenty had wanted to cap property tax increases to 3 percent, Dems wanted it at 5.5, and now Kelliher has confirmed that the new agreed upon number is 3.9 percent.
Also, as far as local government aid, “we made movement toward the governor on LGA,” Kelliher said, adding that $65 million in funding for that is okey-dokey with everybody, even though DFL leaders were seeking $75 million.
“A really good, productive conversation” is how Kelliher put it, noting that negotiations were to resume this afternoon at 4:15.
The mood is certainly more hopeful than it’s been in about 10 days. By 5:30 p.m. Friday, at least one staffer indicated an agreement might be reached Saturday night. Maybe by the time MinnPost resumes publication Monday, an agreement will have been reached.

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