Special session talks continue at the Capitol

Talks continue ahead of the upcoming special session, and while a budget deal may be in sight, there's still a long ways to go -- So much that there's little chance that session can take place this weekend.

A lot of compromise has led up to this point and while the governor says he's good to go on everything but the auditor's responsibilities, house leaders say addressing Rebecca Otto's job can wait -- there are thousands of other Minnesotans to take care of right now.

"The only outstanding issue now is the legislative auditor's language," Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said.

Daudt and House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin worry Gov. Mark Dayton is using the 10,000 Minnesotans whose jobs are hanging in the balance as leverage to get house leaders to repeal a bill he just signed. It's a dispute that boils down to the state auditor's duties.

"If the governor truly had a problem with the bill he should've vetoed the bill and we could've opened up the whole bill and looked at the whole bill in its entirety," Peppin said.

Dayton meanwhile writes, "Our major remaining difference is the house's insistence to privatize the state auditor's principal responsibility, to audit most Minnesota counties."

Both Dayton and house leaders have strongly held convictions for and against the measure. But because the auditor wouldn't be affected until next August, house leaders said the provision isn't worth shutting state government down over.

"He has yet to convince me, nor has anyone else convinced me that there's any need to do anything on the state auditor's language before we get the state auditor's report," Daudt said.

This stalemate ultimately means part of the state's government would shut down on July 1 and thousands of state workers would be laid off indefinitely.

"Coming in now and saying this should hold up special session and certainty of 9400 workers, uncertainty for farmers, avian flu relief, disaster relief, holding up all these other issues to provide additional potential comfort for state auditor simply doesn't make sense," Peppin said.

Without the governor's call for a special session on Saturday, house leaders urge it's time to get serious. Daudt said he hopes they'll at least meet Monday and or Tuesday.

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