Legislature Takes a Break
The Legislature will be in recess this week for the Passover/Easter holidays, returning on Monday, April 18th. The Legislature has been in session for 10 weeks, but has little to show for the hundreds of hours of committee hearings and floor sessions that have taken place. Only one major bill, reinsurance, has been signed into law. At the top of the list of issues to resolve is what to do with the projected $9.2 billion budget surplus. Senate Republicans want permanent tax cuts passed while DFLers want the surplus invested in education, health care, housing, and other areas that DFLers say have been underfunded for years. The failure of the two sides to agree last year on how to give away $250 million to front-line workers does not offer hope to Capitol observers that resolving the budget differences will be any easier this year. The two parties have moved away from the middle toward the fringes, where making a deal with the opposition by compromising is viewed as a bad thing. This could set up five weeks of partisanship and no deals before the Legislature adjourns on May 23.