With few days left in session, resolution seems far away
The State Constitution requires that Minnesota’s 2015 legislative session end by the end of the day Monday. However, despite being only about 150 hours from this deadline, very little noticeable progress has been made on key issues such as taxes, transportation and health and human services. Gov. Dayton, Senate Majority Tom Bakk and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt have been holding meetings, but it appears that all three are reluctant to compromise at this point.
As for the GMNP’s priorities, we are hopeful that an economic development bill will pass this year. Several of our top issues fall under this bill, including job training grants, broadband, workforce housing grants and the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant program. While there is some divide between the House, Senate and Governor on these issues, there appears to be more room for compromise on this bill than some of the others.
Two areas where the disagreements between the three bodies are most apparent are taxes and transportation (the health & human services bill is also a subject of much contention, but it does not directly impact any of the GMNP’s priorities). As each day goes by, it appears less and less likely that the Legislature will pass either a tax bill or a transportation bill this year.
While there are important provisions in the tax bill — namely the GMNP’s workforce housing tax credit proposal, which is included in the Senate version — it is important to note that the state can still function even if the parties cannot agree and no tax bill is passed. If that happens, the current laws will just continue until next year or whenever a tax bill passes. For example, all current tax rates would still apply. For transportation and health and human services, the Legislature must at least pass a “lights on” bill to keep services up and running.