By Sam Walseth, MREA Chief Lobbyist
With three weeks to go until the end of session, the “end game” process is about to begin. This week conference committees will get together to walk through the various provisions in their respective budget and policy bills. Review MREA’s comparison of the the three major proposals.
Meetings between legislative leaders and the Governor will intensify as they seek a global agreement on taxes and spending. Conference committees technically have the authority to put their various budget bills together, but in reality leadership negotiations drive the conference committee process and conferees work with the budget targets agreed to by their respective leaders.
While we get focused on the House and Senate omnibus bills, it’s important to remember that the Governor has top priorities of his own. In education, Governor Dayton will continue to push for a large investment in early childhood scholarships. He likes them because they make an important investment and the business community supports scholarships.
The Senate is pushing for school property tax reform and all day K as their top priorities. The House is pushing all day K, equity reform and formula revenue. The House tax bill has a provision to surcharge upper incomes on a one-time basis to pay back all remaining school shifts.
Five House members including Reps. Marquart, Mariani, Brynaert, Morgan and Urdahl will join five yet to be named Senate members in the E-12 budget conference committee. Conference committee rules require a majority of each side of the House/Senate conference committee to vote affirmatively to put a proposal into the conference committee report.
Once work is finished on a conference committee report it goes back to the body origin for an up or down vote. We’ll be working off of HF 630 for conference committee purposes. SF 453 and most likely SF 978 will be combined with HF 630.