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Minnesota governor, legislative leaders, work to set budget targets

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz - AP image

Gov. Tim Walz and the top House and Senate leaders are meeting in hopes of reaching agreement on budget targets that will guide negotiations for ending Minnesota's 2019 legislative session.

Posted: May 6, 2019 1:37 PM
Updated: May 6, 2019 2:52 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz and the top House and Senate leaders gathered Monday in hopes of agreeing on budget targets to guide negotiations for ending Minnesota's legislative session, saying their talks had been positive and respectful but that education and health and human services funding were the top challenges.

The Democratic governor, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman sat down in hopes of meeting their self-imposed deadline for setting those targets by Monday night so that conference committees would get the numbers they need to draft the final budget bills. The discussions followed similar meetings Friday night and Saturday.

At issue were the big questions of spending and taxes that need to be resolved if the Legislature is going to adjourn on time May 20. While the governor and House Democrats hold similar positions, they need to forge compromises with Republicans who control the Senate and have balked at the higher taxes and spending that the Democrats have proposed. The difference in new spending is about $4 billion for the Democrats' plan versus about $2 billion for the GOP budget.

Gazelka drew a strong contrast between the current talks with the contentious budget negotiations of 2017, when the GOP controlled both chambers and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton often clashed with GOP Speaker Kurt Daudt. Dayton is now retired while Daudt has been relegated to House minority leader.

"Governor Walz is different from Governor Dayton. They both have different styles. They're both passionate. They both love Minnesota as much as I do, but it's definitely different," Gazelka said. "And Speaker Hortman is very pragmatic, wants to find a way through as well. And that's why I have confidence that we'll get something done for Minnesota ... but it won't be easy."

The Republican leader said there was a "fundamental difference" in how the sides assembled their budget proposals. He said Republicans based theirs on what they could fund without raising taxes.

But the governor countered that his budgeting process was "evidence based" because it set targets based on the costs of what Minnesotans told him were the state's necessities for education, transportation and other priorities — then figured out how to pay for them.

Gazelka reiterated that Walz's proposal for a 20 cent gas tax increase — a 70% hike to pay for roads and bridges — "isn't going to happen." But Walz faulted the GOP transportation plan for investing no new money above current revenue projections.

Hortman said relatively little after Monday's initial discussions except that she was "very hopeful" and anticipated working hard all day.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 26980

Reported Deaths: 1159
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin9099657
Ramsey3351149
Stearns205614
Nobles15775
Anoka152779
Dakota144664
Washington70035
Olmsted68911
Rice5243
Kandiyohi5141
Scott4712
Clay44930
Mower4462
Wright3492
Todd3441
Sherburne2492
Carver2402
Benton1853
Steele1700
Freeborn1590
Blue Earth1490
Martin1355
St. Louis11914
Lyon1012
Unassigned9611
Pine930
Nicollet8811
Cottonwood820
Winona8115
Crow Wing815
Watonwan790
Carlton750
Goodhue736
Otter Tail731
Chisago691
Polk632
Itasca5610
Dodge540
Chippewa521
Morrison480
Le Sueur471
Douglas460
Meeker460
Becker440
Jackson420
Murray410
McLeod410
Isanti360
Pennington300
Waseca290
Mille Lacs241
Rock230
Faribault220
Wabasha200
Swift191
Beltrami180
Sibley170
Brown172
Fillmore171
Norman150
Pipestone130
Kanabec121
Aitkin120
Marshall120
Cass112
Big Stone110
Wilkin113
Wadena100
Pope100
Koochiching90
Redwood70
Yellow Medicine70
Renville70
Mahnomen61
Lincoln60
Red Lake40
Traverse40
Grant40
Clearwater30
Houston30
Hubbard30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Stevens10
Lake10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21114

Reported Deaths: 593
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4614140
Woodbury286137
Black Hawk178849
Buena Vista10672
Linn97879
Dallas95226
Marshall91418
Wapello63615
Johnson6198
Muscatine56741
Crawford5512
Tama41129
Scott38510
Dubuque35921
Louisa35011
Pottawattamie31910
Sioux3060
Jasper26917
Wright2210
Washington1968
Warren1671
Plymouth1522
Story1311
Allamakee1204
Mahaska9913
Poweshiek928
Hamilton760
Webster741
Henry732
Boone720
Bremer716
Clarke690
Des Moines681
Taylor660
Clinton651
Guthrie553
Cedar501
Benton431
Cherokee410
Monroe415
Jones370
Shelby370
Osceola360
Jefferson360
Marion350
Dickinson350
Buchanan341
Iowa340
Clayton343
Cerro Gordo331
Madison292
Lee290
Sac280
Davis280
Emmet270
Fayette270
Clay270
Monona260
Harrison260
Hardin240
Lyon240
Winneshiek240
Lucas222
Mills200
Grundy200
Franklin200
Humboldt201
Pocahontas200
Delaware191
Floyd191
Hancock180
Appanoose173
Butler161
Kossuth160
Carroll151
Ida150
Greene150
Keokuk140
Jackson140
Page140
Audubon131
Cass130
Chickasaw130
Howard120
Winnebago110
Calhoun100
Union100
Van Buren90
Adair90
Montgomery92
Adams70
Palo Alto70
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Worth30
Unassigned20
Wayne10
Decatur10
Rochester
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