Dayton signs Real ID bill, averting travel woes for 2018

"Gov. Dayton says GOP lawmakers made a "serious" budget offer this morning", Hauser tweeted.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders hit an impasse Thursday in their quest to set a new Minnesota budget, halting meetings to resolve their massive differences with just days left to finalize a new spending package.

Due to squabbling over transportation spending in St. Paul, the governor says the only way to get the job done is force residents to pay more when buying a vehicle. They are roughly $1 billion apart on overall spending. For Dayton, it means expanding a prized preschool program to more schools while sending extra funding to help an overburdened court system and boost state government's cybersecurity efforts. Lawmakers are preparing a new round of spending bills to send to the governor if talks do not go well.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said Thursday night that he wanted to give Dayton a new budget offer in an attempt to move talks ahead.

"Minnesotans should be confident that when they get to the airport they'll be allowed to fly", said Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr., DFL-Winona.

At the heart of the current disagreement is a seemingly straightforward issue: What constitutes a halfway point when it comes to the state's budget surplus? Daudt balked at the idea but said he would hear out Gazelka.

The GOP-controlled Legislature has passed 10 budget bills, which Democrat Dayton vetoed.

That offer went nowhere with Republicans because it included tax increases on the state's wealthiest residents, and the rest is history: The gridlock stretched past the deadline to adjourn and into a 20-day government shutdown, the longest in state history. If they don't get it done by midnight Sunday, there will have to be a special session.

"What Minnesotans need to know is that once the governor signs the bill that they are going to be able to fly come January of 2018 without hindrance", Smith said.

  • Archie Newman