Dayton, Republicans Back in Budget Talks

Budget Standoff Ahead of May 22 Deadline

Dayton said that so far the two sides are still focused only on budget numbers.

Gov. Mark Dayton's signature on a bill Thursday means Minnesota driver's licenses and identification cards will comply with federal security standards and citizens will be able to continue to use them to board planes.

The governor made what he called a "Meet Half Way" offer, which Republicans interpreted differently.

Dayton responded Republicans moved hardly at all, and insist on large tax cuts and raiding the General Fund for transportation projects.

Deep differences over taxes and spending and the sheer logistics of passing budget bills are threatening to send the legislative session into overtime. When they left less than 10 minutes later, they said they would return in about an hour.

At the heart of the current disagreement is a seemingly straightforward issue: What constitutes a halfway point when it comes to the state's budget surplus?

"So when you apply or reapply for your license on your expiration or if you want to go in once they're available, you will have that option to renew on the normal time frame or earlier, if you so choose", Smith said. "We will not give the governor a blank check for more government spending without pairing it with needed reforms to improve how the state serves Minnesotans", said House Speaker Kurt Daudt.

This has taken two years of fighting about state's rights, privacy, and driver's licenses for undocumented workers to reach this deal, but the House and Senate have now passed the compromise bill and Gov. Dayton is expected to sign it.

That offer went nowhere with Republicans because it included tax increases on the state's wealthiest residents, and the rest is history: The gridlock stretched past the deadline to adjourn and into a 20-day government shutdown, the longest in state history.

That plan still led to a messy, one-day special session that almost derailed over disagreements on environmental spending. "We've entered the cone of silence", he said.

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