After five days of on-and-off private talks, there is a tentative budget deal at the Capitol. But Governor Dayton says, not so fast.
The governor said he wants more money in the agreement for half-day preschool. State-paid preschool has been a top priority of his, and it wasn't included in the legislative plan.
Spokesman Matt Swenson said Dayton offered a counter-proposal that would ramp up new education spending to $550 million, with some of that going toward a new state-paid preschool program for all 4-year-olds.
The new two-year budget deal pumps more than $400 million into public schools and preserves a health care program for the working poor, but likely leaves a transportation funding plan and a package of tax cuts until next year.
Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk both said they also don't see any soccer stadium money slipping into final bills.
"Sometimes the best negotiations are where everyone walks away from the table grumbling a little bit," Bakk said. "No one walks away angry, but grumbling at I didn't quite get everything I wanted."
Daudt said he declares victory by holding down the rate of state spending in this budget.
Gov. Dayton statement
"The House, the Senate, and myself – along with our staffs – continued working to reach a budget agreement until approximately 4:00pm this afternoon. At their request, Speaker Daudt and Senator Bakk then began working on the framework of an offer they believed their caucuses could support. Approximately two hours later, they outlined their tentative offer to Lt. Governor Tina Smith and me – before speaking with the press.
"After having the chance to fully review their offer, I made it clear to Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Bakk that I will accept nothing less than $550 million for E-12 Education. My offer includes no less than 1.5 percent increases in the K-12 funding formula in each year of the biennium, and no less than $173 million for half-day universal prekindergarten, starting in September of 2016.
"With a $1.8 billion surplus, there is no excuse not to make this critically important investment in Minnesota's children and our collective better future."