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Auditor divide continues: Chances of a Saturday special session diminish

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The chances of a Saturday special legislative session to finish off work on the state budget is looking less likely.

Multiple reports suggest GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton have not been able to resolve their dispute over legislation relating to the state auditor.

"My guess is the governor's going to come to his senses," Daudt told reporters on Friday afternoon after Dayton's offer to delay the auditor provisions by a year from July 2016 to July 2017.

Earlier Friday a special session looked likely after Dayton and Daudt agreed to a tentative deal on education spending and a $373 million capital investment bill.

Dayton signed a budget bill that included a provision allowing counties to privately contract for financial audits, rather than submitting ones performed by the state auditor.

According to the Star Tribune, Dayton said he signed the legislation because a veto would have put thousands more state workers at risk of temporary layoffs in case of a government shutdown, but has demanded lawmakers repeal the provision as part of a special session.

"I am strongly opposed to what they are attempting to do here," Dayton said on Wednesday. "It just basically wipes out a principal function of a constitutional office."

Should Dayton refuse to call a special session the Pioneer Press notes he puts at risk funding for the departments of Education, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Commerce, among other agencies.

Without an agreement before July 1, about 10,000 state employees would be laid off. A shutdown would also close state parks and leave public schools unfunded.

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