With less than a month to go and little outward signs of progress, Gov. Mark Dayton is ramping up his rhetoric and his demands of the Legislature.
Anyone who expects him to completely cave on his budget demands as the end of session approaches, underestimates him, he said.
"I didn't get here by blinking," Dayton said.
The Democratic governor Tuesday said legislative doings on the budget are approaching the "theater of the absurd." During an afternoon press conference, called only to rail on about the budget and answer questions, Dayton said he submitted a budget 70 days ago but the Legislature has yet to follow suit.
"I'm mystified why they can't do what previous legislatures have done...I just don't understand what's so difficult," Dayton said. "I've heard excuse after another."
He said is asking lawmakers to pass a joint House-Senate budget by next Friday so that he can fully understand the Republican-controlled Legislature's position.
As it stands, the House and Senate have passed a series of separate, often divergent, budget measures and have yet to agree among themselves. Dayton has also said their budget measures simply don't balance because they rely on "fantasy" numbers.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch didn't warm to Dayton's request.
"We're a separate and equal branch of government," the Buffalo Republican said.
"We're not interested in jamming through a bunch of" bills to meet Dayton's needs, she said.
Dayton admitted his demand for legislative action by Friday may come as a surprise. He held a Tuesday morning breakfast with legislative leaders and did not bring up his new deadline.
But a proposal to require voters to present photo id when voting was on the menu, along with bagels and the budget.
Legislative leaders said they were pleased that Dayton seemed at least open to the Republican proposal. Dayton has said he would require any election reform to include a campaign finance proposal he is backing and have bipartisan support. The current photo id measure meets neither of those criteria.
Dayton has adamantly refused to say he would veto the proposal but has not sounded like a supporter.
On Tuesday, he repeated that it was a "solution in search of a problem."