Capitol update: Republicans and Democrats are miles apart on budget

The end of the legislative session is creeping up on leaders who are trying to find common ground. Work at the Capitol has stalled as lawmakers wait to find out about available funds.

"There's been some talk but not a lot of action," political reporter Brian Bakst told MPR News host Angela Davis.

Gov. Tim Walz, the DFL controlled House and the Republican controlled Senate blew past a self-imposed deadline and are "miles apart" on their budget proposals. State finance officials projected Minnesota will have a $1 billion surplus over the next two years and Republicans say that's enough to cover demand. Democrats say the surplus doesn't cover inflation or demand for new programs, so increased revenue is required.

"The Democrats are saying there's got to be movement to get new money into the picture and that's where the wall is at. Republicans don't want to put a lot of new money into the fray," said Bakst.

A handful of headline-making bills were signed by Gov. Walz this session. The new hands-free cell phone bill requires drivers to use Bluetooth or other technologies. Another measure repealed the marital rape exception. However, at this point Bakst said that unless a bill has support in both the House and Senate it's likely to be brushed aside.

Leaders will meet again at the Governor's fishing opener, but aren't scheduled to talk shop until Sunday night.

Use the audio player above to listen to the segment.

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