Senate Republican Majority Leader Amy Koch called the meeting with the governor cordial and still sounded optimistic about getting a budget deal by the deadline next Monday. Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers added “Every time we meet, we’re making progress.” The governor now expects a counter offer from Republicans after calling their proposal “unreasonable and extreme… devastating… barbaric.” Lawmakers were holding out hope that some budget bills like education could get through, Dayton says he wants an overall budget deal before signing any budget bills.
Gov. Mark Dayton began the first real round of budget negotiations by offering to meet lawmakers halfway with $1.8 billion in spending cuts and $1.8 billion in new revenue. Republican leaders say they’re still not doing tax increases. Dayton says he’s open to where the revenue comes from, even gambling, he lowered his income tax proposal to affect less than 2% of Minnesota couples making more than $300,000. The governor said firmly “I will not go beyond this” in the mix of cuts and revenue. He added if Republicans don’t meet him halfway a special session or government shut down will be “their fault.”