Lawmakers have sent Gov. Tim Pawlenty the remaining budget bills that fund K-12 schools, higher education and agriculture and veterans programs, but there's still no overall agreement on how to pay for those bills, and how to erase a projected $4.6 billion deficit.
The Legislature last night passed a so-called "lights-on" contingency bill that would keep state agencies operating at current levels past June 30th if lawmakers fail to enact a budget by then.
Pawlenty now has to decide whether to sign or veto budget bills that were crafted without an agreement on how to pay for them.
The bills would hold funding for K-12 schools flat for the next two years, delay payments to ethanol producers and cap college tuition increases.
While Democrats in control of the Legislature support tax increases, Pawlenty has proposed borrowing and payment shifts and said he would no support any tax increases.
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said the debate over revenue is the key sticking point.
"We have acted on the input that Minnesotans have given us and what they told us is, 'Please be responsible, craft a balanced plan to solve the budget deficit,' and that's what we've done." Kelliher said. "Now we await a further conversation with the governor."
Republican House Minority Leader Marty Seifert said Democrats needs to understand that the governor won't support a tax increase. He said Pawlenty will examine each budget bill carefully.
"You look at the ag and vets bill, it's seven-tenths of 1 percent of the budget and passed unanimously even with Rep. (Mark) Buesgens," Seifert said. "I think that one would be a very likely signature and I think the other ones are going to be a chef's choice of how to manage the rest of the budget."
The Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn on Monday.