It seemed like more of the same after Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton ended an hour-long meeting this afternoon.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch continued to urge the governor to sign off on bills that the two sides are “very close” to agreeing on and, in addition, they continued to push for the governor to call a special session and pass a “lights on” bill that would get government running again.
“The shutdown is not necessary,” Koch said. “Road construction should be going on. Parks should be open.”
But the two leaders also insisted that they’re not budging off their no-new-taxes position, although it sounds as if they’d be willing to put an increased school shift and perhaps a tobacco bond sale back on the table.
Those two moves would create more money in the short term, but Dayton continues to point out the moves would create more long-term debt, not dependable revenue.
For his part, Dayton continues to resist signing off on some revenue bills, while leaving others for later discussion, or coming forward with a lights-on measure.
Such moves, he believes, would make it even more difficult to come to agreement on a Human Services bill, which is a huge target of the Republicans.
Dayton did say that Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson will continue to meet with Sen. David Hann and Rep. Mike Abeler, the Republican chairs of Human Services committees. Those meetings, the governor said, have been productive as the two sides seek ways to make health care services more efficient.
Additionally, the governor will meet Thursday with Republicans on K-12 education issues.
But overall, the rhetoric was little different from five days ago, when Republicans insisted the two sides were “close’’ to agreement on most areas of the budget. Dayton, though, has said that there remain policy issues to be worked on as well as financial issues.