Two weeks after spring break ended, joint budget targets are still not in sight. Senate Republicans set a date of April 28 to achieve joint targets with the House. Legislators and staff are still waiting.
In the meantime, conference committees have been keeping a fairly busy schedule, taking a look at items that are similar in both House and Senate bills. But without a target of how much money to spend, the bulk of the work of crafting a bill both bodies can agree on must wait.
Squabbling continues between Republicans as they try to lay blame on Governor Dayton for not negotiating with them over budgets. Meanwhile, precious legislative days tick by. We have three weeks left of session to accomplish passing a two-year budget for Minnesotans.
DFL caucus leader Sen. Tom Bakk and Assistant DFL caucus leader Sen. Jeff Hayden hosted a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday to discuss the budget. The two leaders talked about the legislative process and why there are a series of important deadlines legislators must meet in order to have a successful end to session. The discussion was robust, and the conversation was seen more than 30,000 times on Twitter.
While budget negotiations are ongoing, both DFLers and Republicans are asking the House when or if they will release a bonding bill. The Senate released its bonding bill back in January. Last year no bonding bill passed, meaning the last time a significant bonding bill was passed happened in 2014. Bonding pays for critical state-owned infrastructure including buildings on college campuses, waste water infrastructure, parks and trails, airport and railway upgrades, economic development projects and much more.