Still no deal at Capitol: Will transportation, tax cut plans have to wait 'til next year?


Sports fans whose teams are struggling sometimes try to salvage some hope with the cry "Wait 'til next year."

With negotiators striking out on key pieces of a budget agreement for Minnesota, one legislative leader is suggesting lawmakers wait until next year to settle some of the state's business.

With next Monday's deadline for adjournment drawing near, DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says transportation and tax cut plans could be left to the 2016 session, MPR News reports.

Bakk has been involved in end-of-session negotiations with Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and staff members of Gov. Mark Dayton in hopes of bridging the big gaps in their proposals for Minnesota's new two-year budget.

The state Constitution requires lawmakers to end the session on May 18. Another day of negotiations behind closed doors ended Monday with no agreement to announce.

Bills to fund health and human services programs, schools, and universities will need to be approved for those to keep operating after June 30, which is when the current budget year ends.

But Bakk tells the Star Tribune plans to fund long-term road and transit improvements or enact new tax cuts – priorities of the DFL and GOP, respectively – don't necessarily have to be done this year.

With no agreement in sight, Bakk says he's offered to drop the DFL plan for a new gas tax to fund road repairs in exchange for Republicans giving up the push for more than $2 billion in tax reductions.

House Speaker Daudt told MPR he's disappointed by Bakk's suggestion, saying it shows a lack of leadership.

There was some hope of a breakthrough over the weekend, when Dayton and the legislative leaders shared a boat at the Governor's Fishing Opener on Lake Vermilion.

But Bakk tells WCCO they were too busy catching walleye to talk much about the state budget.

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