Dayton to address tax-averse GOP caucuses in Minn.ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton goes before his toughest audience on Thursday — rank-and-file Republican lawmakers standing against his proposal to raise income taxes for the biggest earners.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton goes before his toughest audience on Thursday — rank-and-file Republican lawmakers standing against his proposal to raise income taxes for the biggest earners.
Dayton speaks to a closed-door GOP caucus meeting at the Capitol as the budget standoff threatens to push the session into overtime. There is little time left to reach a budget deal before the Legislature is required to adjourn on Monday.
The Republican-controlled Legislature sent most of its budget to Dayton on Wednesday and early Thursday, even though the governor vowed to reject the budget bills without an overall agreement. The Senate was expected to vote Thursday on the last three pieces — spending packages for higher education, transportation and state parks.
If there's no budget deal by Monday, Dayton would have to call a special session. Parts of state government would shut down starting July 1 if a new two-year budget isn't in place by the end of June.
Republicans have dug in against raising taxes or spending more than the $34 billion the state is projected to collect over the next two years. Dayton's latest offer would raise $1.8 billion in new taxes, mostly from a new top income tax tier for couples earning more than $300,000 and single filers with yearly incomes topping about $180,000.
Dayton told reporters he plans to emphasize the importance of compromise during the hour-long meeting.
"I hope we have a dialogue and a constructive one, and I hope that it could lead to a different position on their part," he said, adding that a GOP shift would be a "high mark" for the encounter.
Top Republicans said during a live interview with Minnesota Public Radio on Thursday that they doubt there's anything Dayton can say to win over their members to higher taxes.
"Right now, I'm not sure that he could," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.
Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said their side already compromised internally by putting forward a nearly $34 billion budget instead of a smaller number.