Gov. Walz offers $200 million reduction in budget spending amid negotiations

Late Monday night, Gov. Walz put a global offer on the table for House and Senate leaders to consider: a $200 million reduction in budget spending. 

The offer comes after a day of negotiations between those who do want a 20-cent per gallon gas tax and those who don’t. Now, the governor is waiting a response.

“What we’ve done is gone through each of the budget areas explaining how we got there because otherwise it’s just hyperbole,” Walz said.

Gov. Walz followed the fifth negotiation meeting as he and lawmakers race to meet a self-imposed deadline of the end of the night. They’re supposed to agree on how much money to spend. However, without a deal on the gas tax, other parts of the budget could fall through.

“We take this deadline seriously, which is why we made an offer. We’ll be here until midnight, so we’ll just wait their reply,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said. “I just want to point out that as part of this offer we also maintain the provider tax at two percent.”

Gov. Walz and top House and Senate leaders organized this with the hope they’d agree on budget targets to guide negotiations for ending Minnesota’s legislative sessions. Although talks have been positive and respectful, Education and Health and Human Services are the top challenges.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are confident they’ll get this all buttoned up by the end of session on May 20.