State budget talks stall in Minnesota
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers were in a holding pattern early Monday afternoon, awaiting word on whether legislative leaders and Gov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers were in a holding pattern early Monday afternoon, awaiting word on whether legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty are moving closer to agreement on a state budget-balancing plan.
Without progress toward a budget deal, Democrats who control the Legislature said they could vote as early as this afternoon or evening on their own bills to fix the state's projected $935 million deficit.
After Pawlenty met Monday morning with Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, both Minneapolis Democrats, the lawmakers said they would hold off on advancing their own bills, at least temporarily.
Meanwhile, legislative leaders and their top tax negotiators were set to meet with Pawlenty administration officials to discuss tax issues that have stalled high-level budget talks, including whether there will be agreement with Pawlenty on a property tax increase cap, property tax cuts for homeowners and new aid to cities.
The Legislature must adjourn by a week from today.
Pawlenty, a Republican, said a budget-balancing deal still could be reached.
"I think there's some hope," he said.
However, Pawlenty said he was aware of the Legislature's alternative plan to send bills he has not agreed to. That would make the end of this legislative session similar to the 2007 Legislature, he said.
"I hope that we can continue to negotiate, but if they choose to pull the trigger and move those bills forward then it will end a lot like last year, which for me was a pretty good ending," he said.