Governor Pawlenty and DFL legislative leaders made little progress on the state budget during a private meeting Thursday. DFLers complained that the governor doesn't appear willing to balance the state's budget over the long term. Governor Pawlenty said he opposes the DFL plans to raise taxes to help erase the state's $4.6 billion budget deficit.
"I was very clear with them and said I'm not going to be raising taxes," Pawlenty said. "That is not the solution to our budget crisis. They don't like that. They are upset as they upset because that was the message that was delivered to them. It's not that we have some major issue other than we have a legitimate policy difference. They want to raise taxes and I don't."
Pawlenty plans to use one-time money, spending cuts and accounting shifts to balance the budget. DFLers in the House and Senate have different plans that rely on spending cuts and tax increases to balance the budget. The House plan also relies on an accounting shift.
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said Pawlenty is not willing to negotiate on tax increases.
"The fact is that the governor, the Senate and the House to this point, no one can figure out how to solve this budget without figuring out how to balance this budget without some sort of revenue," Kelliher said. "He seems quite absolutist at this point that it has to be his form of revenue."
The governor said DFLers continue to push tax increases even though he has repeatedly said he opposes them. DFLers say Pawlenty's budget will cause problems in future years.