Hunt for Minnesota state budget agreement heats up
May 10, 2013 — 7:19pm
Top DFL lawmakers and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton have been huddling in the governor's office in recent days, searching for an end-of-session compromise.
They met late Thursday and started up again Friday morning. After a break in the mid-afternoon, they may pick the high-level talks up again shortly.
The leaders, including House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, are working toward a budget plan that will meld lawmakers' taxing and spending priorities with the governor's.
Although joint House-Senate budget panels have spent long hours working through their differences, they cannot close up their work until there is agreement at the highest levels on basic budgeting levels.
The 2013 session of the Legislature is due to end on May 20.
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
The 20-year-old man suspected of killing five people with a rifle at a Macy's makeup counter had a string of run-ins with the law in recent years, including charges he assaulted his stepfather, and was described by a neighbor as so "creepy, rude and obnoxious" that she kept a Taser by her front door.
Hopes of quickly calling Minnesota lawmakers back for a special session faded Wednesday, as legislative leaders emerged from the latest round of private negotiations reporting little progress toward a deal.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Leader Tom Bakk gave no indications Sunday afternoon of any fundamental change in their standoff with Gov. Mark Dayton over his threat to veto the education budget bill.