Budget talks go past 2 a.m. as deadline looms

Legislative leaders aim for Wed. afternoon deadline to draft bills

Sloane Martin
May 15, 2019 - 4:59 am

Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders are still trying to reach a budget deal but time is running short for ending the 2019 session on time.

Budget talks went to past 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. Legislative leaders on both sides agree they need to reach a deal on budget targets by Wednesday afternoon to allow enough time for drafting the big budget bills and passing them by Monday's adjournment date.

Analysis from WCCO political analyst Blois Olson on the WCCO Morning News:

Walz and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka spoke to reporters in the early evening.

"We're still here. That's a good thing," Walz said with a chuckle before a break for dinner followed by a reconvening at 8 p.m. that lasted several more hours.

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"We're working through the budget in detail so we'll keep doing that," Gazelka said.

The governor and House Democrats offered to cut their proposed 20-cent gas tax increase to 16 cents. Senate Republicans have offered $100 million more in spending by tapping some of the state's budget reserve. But they said the gas tax increase and renewing an expiring 2% tax on health care providers remain off the table.

Talks are resuming at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Walz pess secretary Teddy Tschann said in a statement that "everyone is feeling productive and optimistic."

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