Minn. budget talks pick up as time runs short

Published 11:32 am Friday, May 20, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Budget talks are picking up as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republican lawmakers try to fix a $5 billion deficit with less than four days left in the legislative session.

GOP leaders met for about an hour Friday with Dayton and may return later in the day for more talks.

Dayton is also meeting with legislative negotiators for spending on public schools and state agencies.

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Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (kohk) says the leaders asked the governor for specifics on his proposal to cut $1.8 billion in spending.

They oppose the other half of his plan — to raise an equal amount in new taxes, mainly from higher income taxes for the top 2 percent.

Republicans want to cap state spending at $34 billion over the next two years.