For the second time this week, a legislative budget commission met Thursday morning to thrash over the state's budget mess. And for the second time this week, the meeting failed to accomplish much in the way of bridging the gap between Republicans and DFLers.

Once again, Republicans lobbed potshots at two of Gov. Mark Dayton's commissioners, who were making the case for closing the state's budget gap of $5 billion before July 1, when a state government shutdown is looming. And both sides continued to aim rhetorical barbs at each other.

After almost two hours, following a three-hour session Tuesday, the lack of apparent progress was summed up by House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, declared, "we've spent another hour and 40 minutes here and we are no closer to resolving this budget deficit than when we came in an hour and 40 minutes ago. We're no closer to resolving this budget deficit than when we came in on Jan. 4."

 One substantive fact that emerged from the hearing came from a survey by the National Governor's Association, which found that, contrary to Republicans' assertion, Dayton has a lot of company around the country in calling for increased taxes to close budget gaps in other states.

According to the survey. Dayton is one of a dozen governors who have recommended some form of tax increase this year, while 12 others have recommended lowering taxes and fees. Minnesota is one of a half-dozen states where some form of increase in income taxes has been proposed, the survey found. During the current budget cycle, 14 states -- Minnesota not among them -- have increased taxes above levels that existed during the 2009 fiscal year.  

"Most of those states corrected their problem in the present biennium," said Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon. "Two years ago... they did what they had to do They took care of their problem and we pushed ours forward."

Retorted Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina, "you''re right, other states have increased taxes over the last several years. But I would submit that many of the legislators who raised taxes and raised spending, and the governors who raised taxes and raised spending ... are no longer with us," referring to the nationwide Republican sweep in 2010.

The sharpest rhetorical flourish of the morning came from Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen. "You can't tax your way out of this recession," she said, calling the administration's estimates of addition revenue that will come from increased taxes "unreliable." Dayton's proposal to increase income taxes by $1.8 billion "must be miracle money," she said. "Your rhetoric is unbelievable to say our budgeting is somehow draconian, drastic and horrible for Minnesota ... $1.8 billion makes all the difference between huge thunderclouds and beautiful rainbows and blue skies? I don't think so."

Thissen later took aim at Ortman's "rainbow" crack: "I don't think Governor Dayton thinks any budget that's going to be passed by this Legislature is going to be rainbows, happy rainbows ... I think everybody understands that any budget that's passed is going to have serious consequences for the state of Minnesota. So let's not make those kind of comments. That doesn't advance the ball, either." With that, Thissen walked out of the hearing. (It wasn't a protest; he had another commitment, his spokeswoman said.)

Michel repeated the complaint by members of his caucus that the DFLers still haven't come up with a budget solution of their own. "I don't recall any DFL budget proposal," he said. "I don't recall any Thissen budget proposal. I mean, Joe Mauer has shown up more this spring than the DFL when it comes to budget plans."