Minnesota Budget Compromise Meter

There’s been a lot of talk by Republicans regarding Governor Dayton’s unwillingness to compromise on the budget.  So I thought it might be useful to look at how the budget proposals by the Governor and the GOP majority in the Legislature have changed over the course of the session.  There are three points that we’ll look at — the original proposals when the revenue estimates showed a $6.2 billion deficit, the revised proposals after the revenue estimates were updated to show a $5 billion deficit, and where the parties stand today.

(For the purposes of this analysis, a “spending cut” is defined as a reduction in spending from current law.  In some cases, that may mean that actual funding for programs is increased over the previous biennium, but is less than if there had been no change in law.  Additionally, I am counting the continuation of the $1.4 billion K-12 funding shift implemented in the last session as a spending cut.  Both parties have agreed to continue the shift.)

Original proposals:  Governor Dayton’s proposal to close the then-$6.2 billion deficit consisted of $4.1 billion in tax increases, the $1.4 billion school shift, and $0.7 billion in other spending cuts.  Republicans had not offered a specific budget at this point, only indicating that they would not be including any new revenues in their plan.  As such, their proposal (by default) was $1.4 billion in the school shift and $4.8 billion in other cuts.

Revised proposals:  After the Revenue Department updated the forecast to result in a $5.0 billion deficit for the next biennium, there were tweaks to the Governor’s proposal.  He removed $900 million in tax increases, and restored some of the spending cuts.  His new proposal resolved the deficit through $3.2 billion in tax increases, the $1.4 billion school shift and $0.4 billion in other spending cuts.  Republicans revealed their budget proposals after the updated forecast.  Their budget targets consisted of the $1.4 billion school shift and $3.6 billion in other cuts.

Current proposals:  Earlier this week, Governor Dayton revised his budget proposal again, continuing the $1.4 billion school shift and then offering to split the remaining $3.6 billion as half tax hikes and half spending cuts.  So the net result of Dayton’s proposal is $1.8 billion in tax increases and $3.2 billion in spending cuts.  Republicans have stayed with their previous budget figures.

So, let’s sum this up.

Governor Dayton has moved significantly since the start of the session.  He has gone from a budget solution consisting of 34% spending cuts to a budget proposal consisting of 64% spending cuts.  The legislative majorities have made no movement in their position over the course of the session.  They have no standing to complain about what they perceive as the Governor’s unwillingness to modify his position.  It’s time for them to sit down at the table and get to work on crafting a real budget solution.


3 Responses to “Minnesota Budget Compromise Meter”

  1. It’s almost pointless to point this out. Republicans will not raise taxes, and they have even sworn to not raise revenue of any kind. They will do nothing. NOTHING. They don’t care if the government or the whole world burns. Democrats will do all the compromising.


  1. Nohealthcareville and other “highlights” of the 2011 legislative session | Brick City Blog - May 26, 2011

    […] Republican majorities in the House and Senate offered no meaningful compromise from their pre-session position, while Governor Dayton changed the substance of his proposal significantly. […]

  2. How do we get to a deal? | Brick City Blog - June 15, 2011

    […] The regular session of the Minnesota Legislature has been over for three weeks, and we’re no closer to a budget deal today than we were then.  Neither side has made any significant move over that time, and the state government shutdown looms two and one-half weeks away. (Keep in mind, though, that Governor Mark Dayton has already made significant compromise up to this … […]

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