Special legislative session on budget surplus unlikely

Published 8:53 am Friday, June 17, 2022

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ST. PAUL — It appears chances are dead for a special legislative session that could have brought billions of dollars in tax cuts and new spending in Minnesota.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz said late Thursday that talks with Republican leaders have “reached an impasse,” leaving billions of dollars from a state surplus unspent.

About a week before the end of the regular session last month, Walz and top legislators announced an agreement on a plan to use $4 billion of the surplus over the next few years to cut taxes, $4 billion to increase spending in a number of areas and to save another $4 billion in case of an economic slowdown.

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House Speaker Melissa Hortman says Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller told her the budget surplus deal is no longer in force now that the regular session is over.

“If Minnesotans think we need to have a special session to finish this work, if Minnesotans think we need to invest in schools and nursing homes and roads and bridges and pass these tax cuts, they need to let Senate Republicans know,” Hortman said.

Now that money will remain unspent, next year’s Legislature and whoever wins the governor’s race will decide how to spend it.

Walz said he’s open to restarting the conversation about a special session with the Legislature, but he was not optimistic that will happen.