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State government budget meeting blows up over policy

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: July 15, 2011 - 6:53 PM

Sen. Mike Parry says he does not think the state government budget bill will be wrapped up by 10 p.m. tonight after a budget meeting this morning erupted over a policy dispute.

Parry, chair of the state government committee, said he and other lawmakers walked out of the meeting because MMB commissioner Jim Schowalter said "policy and reform" provisions were off the table.

“My understanding is leadership agreed that we would take the social policy out," Parry said. "But we would still have reforms.”

Those include non-social policy items like consolidating a variety of state government agencies.

Parry has been one of the most vocal critics of Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration, even calling for the governor's resignation.

"I just took my tablet, put it in my folder," Parry said. "And Commissioner Showalter looked at me and said, ‘Senator, please don’t leave.’ And I said, 'Commissioner, I’m not here to waste my time. We have a serious situation, it needs to be resolved, and you have no clue what the governor wants in this bill.'"

A spokesman for MMB said he could not comment until he talked with the commissioner about what transpired.

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