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Hoping for a state budget agreement

It’s hard to know how negotiations on the Minnesota State Budget are progressing. The negotiations are being conducted behind closed doors, and no one is giving out any progress reports.

In a way, it’s comforting. In the past, the Republicans or the Democrats would come out from the negotiation room and blast the other side for being unreasonable, mule-headed and irresponsible. The other side would respond that the first side was being selfish, intractable and insensitive. They would go through a whole thesaurus before finally getting a compromise budget in place.

So, without the fireworks, we can assume they are grinding away at a budget, which will hopefully be passed when Gov. Tim Walz calls a special session on June 14 to extend his COVID-19 emergency powers.

But there are also signs that an impasse might be developing. The state sent state employees layoff notices for July 1, which would be the date the state government would have to shut down if no state budget is passed by June 30. The governor explains that it is a formality, an administrative step that needs to be taken in case the budget isn’t approved in time.

It’s only June 4, 10 days until the special session. We’re hoping for a breakthrough in the budget talks in the coming week and a half.

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