Baby steps when a mad dash is needed

As the Minnesota legislative session winds down to its final hours, Governor Mark Dayton and leaders in the House and Senate have been trying to come to agreement on the 10 spending bills passed by the Republicans who control the Legislature and the DFL governor who vetoed each and every one of them.

After three days of meetings, the governor and the legislators announced “baby steps” on some of the bills, but by Wednesday night the steps had slowed to a crawl, then stopped, then started backtracking. The governor and legislators were meeting Thursday morning to try to break the impasse. If they don’t get it done by midnight Sunday, there will have to be a special session.

Baby steps are not going to make it in the mad dash that has typified the end of the Minnesota legislative sessions in recent years. Last year’s session end was typical, with important legislation introduced hours before the session end, amendments offered and rejected, or approved with little review.

The state budget should not be set in this manner. If negotiations are stalled this close to the end of the session, then a special session will be the better option. The next deadline would be June 30, when the state fiscal year ends and the state government would have to shut down without a new budget. We hope it won’t come to that.


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