With Session Ending Soon, Legislators and Governor Need to Agree Quickly on Budget Targets

Ten budget conference committees continue to meet but without budget targets, little formal action can be taken.
(Published May 13, 2019)

The progress in conference committees has been slow as conferees for all of the major budget and tax bills await an agreement on budget targets for each committee.

Given the significant differences between the House, Senate, and governor on their separate state biennial budget proposals, the negotiations on budget targets came to a halt last week. The House two-year budget is $49.8 billion. Gov. Walz has set a $49.3 billion budget. And the Senate budget is at $47.7 billion.

Budget targets

The budget targets are essentially an agreement the governor and legislative leaders make on the allocation of existing and new state resources among the nine major state budget bills and the tax bill.

Once each conference committee has allocated its share of the overall state budget target, the conferees will work to reach agreement on their respective pieces of the state budget.

Conference committees

The 10 major budget conference committees include:

  • Agriculture Department, Rural Development, and Housing Finance
  • Education Finance
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Health and Human Services
  • Higher Education
  • Jobs and Economic Development, Energy and Climate, and Telecommunications
  • Judiciary and Public Safety
  • State Government
  • Transportation
  • Taxes

With only seven days remaining in the 2019 regular session, the governor and legislative leaders will have to act quickly to reach an agreement, leaving enough time for the 10 conference committees to negotiate agreements in the form of a conference committee report. The Legislature must adjourn by midnight on Monday, May 20.

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