Battle to finalize budget continues, lawmakers to meet Saturday

The budget debate briefly left the Capitol and relocated to the studios of Twin Cities Public Television Friday evening.

Governor Mark Dayton and key lawmakers from both parties discussed the state of the budget talks on TPT’s Almanac program.

Earlier in the day, GOP legislators began the process of passing several budget bills, even though a final deal hasn't been reached.

“They wanted engaged so I'm engaged,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “They said, they wanted to negotiate. I'm negotiating and continuing to negotiate.”

“We just started the process, we're at Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and that's it, so we have to get going," said Sen. Paul Gazelka.

The governor says his aim as his term winds down is to leave the state in good fiscal  health, so he still feels the GOP's tax cut plan - currently at more than $600 million dollars - is too big.

“I've said all along I'm not going to leave the state of Minnesota, in the kind of predicament I inherited in 2011,” said Dayton. “The budget has to be and the tax cut has to be fiscally responsible.”

“If we don’t do this tax bill, it’s five billion more dollars that’s going to come out of Minnesota families and their pockets and frankly, I can’t imagine how good that would be for their own family budgets and also Minnesota’s economy,” said Speaker Kurt Daudt.

Both sides are trying to avoid a government shutdown, like the one in 2011.

Governor Dayton says there's too many controversial policy proposals in the GOP budget package.

“We're three days away from the session, I’ve been saying for three weeks, the budget bills without controversial policy will get it done,” said Dayton. “The budget bills have controversial policy, we'll be here till June.”

Those budget talks scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

If no deal is reached by Monday night, a special session would be needed. Lawmakers would then have until June 30 to avoid a government shutdown.