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Lawmakers try for budget breakthrough again on Monday

WCCO's Blois Olson, House Speaker Hortman both are optimistic a special session can be avoided

May 13, 2019 - 4:50 am

With the legislative session a little more than a week before scheduled adjournment, Republicans and Democrats still are no closer to agreement on a new state budget.

Leaders from the House and Senate met with Governor Walz Sunday night at the capitol building, but remain far apart after talks that broke down after about 90 minutes.

"We had a large group conversation about tax policy, and our contrasting philosophies on that," House Speaker Melissa Hortman told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News. "There is a middle for all of the disputes that we have. I think you have three leaders that are interested in finding the middle who understand what the word 'compromise' really means. The proof will be in the pudding."

There are meeting scheduled for Monday, one week before the legislative session is scheduled to end, with both sides billions of dollars apart.

WCCO political analyst Blois Olson on the Morning News said he feels the two sides can reach agreement before the session ends next Monday.

"I do. They've scrambled before. We're still ahead of, I think, the pace of where we've been before," Olson said. "I just don't know where the issues are, or if the Senate Republicansare going to give much back to the governor, because they seem to be in a position of strength."

Olson said the Republicans have that position of strength after last week's revenue forcast showed tax collections for April were $489 million ahead of projections.

The sticking point in the budget negotiations is taxes.

Senate Republicans don't want them.  

Governor Walz and Democrats that control the House are pushing for a gas tax and extension of the medical provider tax.  

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