Republicans push budget bills - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Republicans push budget bills

St. Paul, Minn. (KTTC) --

State lawmakers have a lot on their hands this week at the Capitol. The republican majority is bringing up its deficit-reducing bills in both the senate and House Chambers, and it's creating a lot of discussion.

Already the mood of compromise has been tarnished. Instead of one large budget proposal, GOP leaders are trying to pass smaller, individual bills, something Governor Mark Dayton has made clear he did NOT want to see. Now the tension is showing in the House chamber.

First the tax bill...

"We're not raising income tax rates," says republican representative Greg Davids.

Then the environment, K-12 , and higher education.

"This is the week where all the Republican budget bills roll out," explains democrat representative Kim Norton.

They're all bits and pieces of how the republican majority would like see the state use its dollars for the next biennium, and close a projected $5 billion deficit. But many democrats, including the governor Mark Dayton, say they don't like the G-O-P's budget approach, making lawmakers vote on individual bills without seeing how the spending will affect the overall budget.

"The governor has asked for all bills to be rolled together, so we can have a full picture about what the republicans want to do, how much are they going to cut, and what does that bottom line look like, and where is the revenue coming from to fund their budgets. And right now, you can't see that," says Norton.

One of the largest bills is the tax omnibus bill. It cuts state income taxes for lower and middle class families, but does not include any increases on the wealthiest Minnesotans... a campaign promise Dayton has said he plans to see through.

"If you show a favorable tax rate, you'll have businesses expand in the state, you'll have businesses move to the state, creating more jobs, creating more revenue. You have to remember, in the income tax world, more is less and less is more," explains Davids, the House Tax Committee Chair.

The K-12 education bill will increase funding in the short term, but Representative Norton says there are many bad policies in it.

These bills are getting a lot of debate on the house and senate floors, but they're still likely to pass out of the chamber along party-line votes. The real debate and compromise will come later in the session in the conference committees.

That's where we'll see republicans and democrats come together from both chambers to hash out a plan they can live with.

Governor Dayton says he will not agree to any of the bills until he can see a larger budget framework. GOP leaders are trying to vote on an entire budget this week to erase that $5 billion deficit.

Powered by Frankly