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Dayton, legislators don’t seem optimistic as they head into afternoon talks

Before heading into 2 p.m. budget talks with Republican legislators, Gov.

Before heading into 2 p.m. budget talks with Republican legislators, Gov. Mark Dayton told reporters this morning that he’s already made compromises with Republicans and that he’s now holding out to protect Minnesotans from draconian cuts.

“It takes two sides to reach a compromise; I’ve already offered to split the difference, offered to trade numbers back and forth, suggested a mediator, but every effort to compromise has been flat-out rejected,” he said. “When Minnesotans ask why I’m taking this position, I say it’s because of the effects of their budget cuts on real lives and real Minnesotans.”

He seemed even testier today than usual, as eight days remain until a state shutdown, if an agreement isn’t reached.

“There’s still plenty of time,” Dayton said. “The sticking point is the willingness of Republicans to compromise instead of insisting it has to be their way. The problem is not time, it’s the Republican intransigence.”

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He said he’s not optimistic that today’s talks will bring any different results. “But I’ll keep trying.” And he said it’s “not responsible for Republican legislators to say it’s my way or no way.”

GOP leaders don’t seem to expect much will happen in today’s talks, either. Michael Brodkorb of the Senate Republican Caucus, said in an email this morning:

Since GOP leadership has presented 3 detailed budget compromise offers to Gov. Dayton, the expectation was that Gov. Dayton would be making his first detailed budget offer. Unfortunately, his staff communicated that Gov. Dayton would not be making a new offer.

Late last evening, Gov. Dayton’s office contacted GOP leadership staff to inform them of Gov. Dayton’s new request that no staff attend today’s 2PM meeting. GOP leadership agreed to comply with Gov. Dayton’s request and will meet with him today without any staff present.