(This post has been updated)
Wednesday morning started with word of a tentative budget deal and imminent special session from Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, but by the afternoon the governor's office issued another press release saying Dayton "is focused on getting the final details resolved."
"Governor Dayton prefers holding a special session on Friday," read the statement from spokesman Linden Zakula. He later added: "We are working with the Legislature to determine if a Friday special session is possible."
At issue is the final unresolved budget bill, a relatively small package to fund jobs and energy programs. Several of its policy provisions in particular have aggravated partisan tensions between House Republicans and some Senate Democrats, as well as dividing the Senate DFL internally.
In written statements earlier in the day, both Dayton and GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt touted a "tentative budget deal." Daudt said later in the afternoon that it was only technical details of the jobs bill still being finalized, and said he expected Dayton to call a special session for Friday by early Thursday afternoon at the latest.
"We have reached tentative agreement on the remaining bills," Dayton said in his earlier statement. He said several lingering matters were resolved, including $5 million the governor wanted to help Minnesotans with disabilities find and maintain employment, and to prevent homelessness among people suffering from mental illness.
The so-called final deal also includes a utility rate provision sought by taconite and forest product industries in northeastern Minnesota, Dayton said. Lawmakers and Dayton also agreed to give the city of Rochester flexibility in its local sales tax to support the so-called Destination Medical Center economic development initiative.
"These resolutions to the bills I vetoed three weeks ago have been extremely difficult," Dayton said in the statement.
He added: "The sign of a true compromise is that no one is happy with it." But he said resolution of the budget is of vital importance to 9,400 state workers in line for temporary layoffs on July 1.
“The House Republican majority's aim from the beginning was bringing government spending more in line with family budgets," House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said in his statement. "I’m proud to say, upon enactment, our budget will have the third lowest percent increase in general fund spending in over 50 years." He added: "I’m pleased we can move forward with this tentative agreement today and pass a bipartisan budget that invests in Minnesotans’ needs while still respecting taxpayers.”
Dayton said before he actually calls the special session, he needs an agreement signed by all four legislative leaders on the exact language of the new budget bills, and on the exact agenda of the overtime meeting.