Lawmakers poised to miss self-imposed deadline on $52 billion budget

    The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul as the sun sets on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Photo by Tony Webster.

    Lawmakers working to finalize a new $52 billion budget are poised to blow past a second deadline without much public evidence of progress. 

    Friday was the self-imposed deadline for so-called working groups who are debating how to cut taxes and spend billions of taxpayer dollars on schools, public safety, health programs and other areas of government. 

    Last month, DFL Gov. Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said lawmakers would return on June 14 in a special legislative session to finish a new two-year budget. 

    The Legislature has until midnight June 30 to approve a new budget or the state will begin shutting down wide swaths of government. Layoff notices to more than 38,000 state employees have already been sent, despite public assurances from Walz, Gazelka and Hortman that the state is not in danger of shutting down. 

    A House DFL spokesman on Friday said he did not have an update on the status of negotiations, saying that budget spreadsheets would be posted online once they are complete. 

    A Senate GOP spokeswoman said she did not expect any other budget bills beyond those already posted to be ready ahead of the Friday deadline. 

    A few budget bills have been completed: higher education, commerce and energy, and the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which pays for outdoors restoration projects.

    Ricardo Lopez
    Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.