Top legislative leaders met privately for about two hours on Wednesday afternoon, trying to strike a deal on state spending levels that will allow them to wrap up the legislative session.
GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and several other key lawmakers and staff members joined in the meeting in Daudt's office. Bakk said afterward that the group "made some headway" but also acknowleged that a final agreement on spending levels for 2015-16 still appears a ways off.
Asked whether the group was close to a total spending figure, Bakk replied, "I don't think we are."
DFL senators and Gov. Mark Dayton want to spend about $43 billion, while House Republicans are just under $40 billion plus about $2 billion in tax cuts. Daudt did acknowledge earlier in the day that Republicans would likely have to retreat from that full amount in order to compromise with DFLers.
Bakk said the group would resume discussions later Wednesday evening. Lawmakers have until the end of the day on Monday, May 18, to finish assembling the state budget, otherwise risking a special session.