Budget negotiations are expected to heat up this week at the state Capitol, with lawmakers facing adjournment on May 19th.
DFL leaders in the House and Senate are working with Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty to solve a projected state budget deficit of $935 million.
Democrats made a proposal late last week that suggested $204 million in spending cuts as a starting point for the budget solution. But Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, dismissed the DFL proposal as inadequate window dressing.
"This almost looks like third grade math. You've got to balance the checkbook. You can't say we're going to cut $200 million. What are you going to do with the other $800 million. I mean do you have to make that up with revenues, new tax revenues. If that's what you want to do, we should have that debate. The public should be allowed to witness the debate and determine if that is the direction we want to go," said Emmer.
House Majority Leader Tony Sertich says the DFL wants to build a solution by first finding areas of agreement.
"We are close. If we look at this deficit it is a small portion of the overall state budget. If we keep working in this way of finding places where we agree instead of focusing on the areas we disagree I think we can build a solution," Sertich said.
Sertich says he thinks a budget agreement is close and negotiations could make significant progress this week.