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Hopeful talk hits brick wall of reality in Minnesota Capitol talks

AP image - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

The two sides were about $2 billion apart when talks resumed Monday, but the negotiations ended acrimoniously late in the night and they missed a self-imposed deadline for setting overall budget targets to guide negotiations before the May 20 adjournment deadline.

Posted: May 7, 2019 9:44 AM
Updated: May 7, 2019 3:40 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Hopeful talk about bipartisan cooperation at the Minnesota Legislature hit the brick wall of reality when Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and leaders for House Democrats and Senate Republicans broke off budget negotiations, leaving the two sides blaming each other Tuesday for the lack of agreement on spending and taxes.

The two sides were about $2 billion apart when talks resumed Monday, but the negotiations ended acrimoniously late in the night and they missed a self-imposed deadline for setting overall budget targets to guide negotiations before the May 20 adjournment deadline. That left conference committees to plod along on major spending bills without the caps.

Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman told reporters Tuesday that the atmosphere "began to degrade around 10:30, which is why I thought it was time to stop talking for the evening."

Democrats said Walz offered to cut $200 million in spending from his original budget proposals, and House Democrats said they were willing to cut $664 million from their own and accept the governor's figure if Senate Republicans would meet them halfway and come up $332 million.

Senate Republicans wouldn't raise their offer, but did offer to shift money around within their budget proposal to spend more on education and less on health and human services.

"The Senate Republican budget means substantial, horrible cuts in health and human services," Hortman said. "It means massive layoffs in school districts all around the state. And so coming forward with zero change in their net position was just extremely disappointing."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka countered by blaming Walz and Hortman for refusing "to drop even one cent" of their proposed increases in gasoline and other taxes, which would add up to $12 billion over the next four years.

"We asked Gov. Walz and House Democrats to recognize that Health and Human Services is the fastest-growing and most expensive part of our budget, and to join us in an effort to bend the cost curve down in this area," he said. "Every dollar of permanent savings found could be allocated to Gov. Walz's top priority, E-12 Education."

Hortman responded to Gazelka's statement with an expletive, noting the Democrats' offers to come down on spending.

Walz stuck Tuesday to his proposals for education, transportation and health care, which include a 20-cent increase in the state's gas tax to pay for roads and bridges. He also wants to preserve a 2% tax on health care providers to pay for health programs, which Republicans want to let expire as scheduled at year's end.

The governor said in an interview on Minnesota Public Radio that his budget was based on what the state needs to spend to maintain quality education and other programs at a time when the state's population is growing, and that he'd like to see some reciprocity from Republicans.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62993

Reported Deaths: 1731
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19873842
Ramsey7827270
Dakota4610106
Anoka3841115
Stearns292820
Washington222748
Olmsted179123
Nobles17777
Scott163422
Mower11112
Rice10468
Blue Earth9465
Wright9185
Carver8993
Clay79440
Sherburne75310
Kandiyohi7141
St. Louis62120
Todd4302
Lyon4263
Watonwan3671
Freeborn3611
Nicollet35613
Steele3562
Benton3253
Winona26616
Beltrami2640
Crow Wing25214
Le Sueur2301
McLeod2240
Martin2105
Chisago2091
Goodhue2059
Otter Tail2044
Cottonwood1780
Becker1621
Pipestone1589
Polk1564
Waseca1561
Carlton1470
Itasca14612
Douglas1442
Isanti1370
Unassigned13546
Dodge1310
Pine1290
Murray1251
Chippewa1171
Morrison941
Wabasha930
Brown922
Faribault920
Meeker872
Rock860
Sibley862
Koochiching833
Cass802
Jackson790
Pennington751
Mille Lacs733
Fillmore720
Renville675
Lincoln610
Grant563
Swift561
Roseau530
Yellow Medicine530
Pope480
Houston450
Aitkin411
Norman400
Kanabec372
Redwood370
Hubbard360
Wilkin353
Marshall290
Wadena280
Mahnomen271
Big Stone250
Red Lake240
Lake220
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse130
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50230

Reported Deaths: 955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10612210
Woodbury377052
Black Hawk320066
Linn245689
Johnson213820
Dallas193235
Buena Vista180012
Scott176815
Dubuque173431
Marshall145627
Pottawattamie136729
Story118915
Wapello93435
Muscatine86048
Webster8498
Crawford7393
Cerro Gordo65617
Sioux6533
Warren5861
Tama55729
Jasper48427
Wright4821
Plymouth47912
Clinton4344
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2723
Franklin25512
Hamilton2551
Bremer2337
Clarke2063
Clay2021
Carroll2012
Des Moines1992
Emmet1934
Shelby1881
Hardin1860
Marion1830
Floyd1673
Benton1621
Jackson1601
Poweshiek1608
Allamakee1584
Mahaska14217
Henry1404
Guthrie1385
Buchanan1351
Cedar1351
Jones1352
Butler1312
Lee1294
Madison1282
Hancock1242
Humboldt1241
Delaware1231
Lyon1232
Pocahontas1212
Harrison1131
Cherokee1101
Clayton1093
Winneshiek1021
Page1000
Taylor1000
Iowa981
Kossuth970
Mills941
Monona920
Winnebago920
Palo Alto910
Fayette900
Calhoun872
Cass871
Jefferson870
Sac860
Osceola850
Grundy831
Union811
Mitchell800
Monroe758
Lucas734
Worth680
Davis612
Montgomery614
Chickasaw600
Appanoose523
Howard510
Fremont450
Greene420
Keokuk401
Adair380
Van Buren381
Ida330
Audubon291
Decatur270
Ringgold231
Wayne211
Adams170
Unassigned20
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