State lawmakers, Pawlenty down to final week of session

State lawmakers have just one week left to reach a budget agreement and erase a $4.6 billion deficit.

The Legislature must adjourn by May 18. If a deal is not done by then, Gov. Tim Pawlenty would have to call a special session. House and Senate Democrats missed a self-imposed deadline last week to finish budget bills. But Pawlenty said he thinks there's still enough time to complete the work.

"Everybody would like to get it done on time," Pawlenty said. "I certainly would. There's no excuse for the DFL-controlled Legislature being there from January until May and then saying they ran out of time because they only have three or four days left. They should have been using the time better in March and April."

DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich of Chisholm said he wants a successful end to the session, but he also said the governor must show some willingness to compromise before they can reach a budget agreement.

"He tends to wait until the last possible minute to negotiate and to compromise," Sertich said. "And the clock is ticking. And I believe his ability to compromise is the only thing that's standing in the way to the end of a successful session."

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