Budget standoff won’t be solved anytime soon

Minnesota’s political leaders are locked in a standoff over the state budget. On Monday, they missed a self-imposed deadline for setting overall budget targets, from which they could shape their negotiations.

What’s going on?

Democrat Gov. Tim Walz and the House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, want to spend about $2 billion more than Republicans who control the state Senate. Republicans believe the state has plenty of money coming in, along with a huge surplus, so why raise taxes or grow government programs that will just cost more in future?

Of course, it all has real-world implications for Minnesotans. Some want the government to do more because they will benefit. Others want the government to carefully watch what it spends, because they pay the bills. Others still would like the government to back off, do less and return more money to taxpayers, so they can utilize their own income to live their lives and make their own decisions.

We believe Republicans offered Walz a great deal this week: more money for his top priority, E-12 education, if he would help them get a handle on the runaway spending on health and human services. Walz did not take them up on the offer. Why? Prioritizing spending does not appeal to him. He wants more spending and higher taxes to pay for it. That’s a shame.

Don’t expect a deal anytime soon. The sunshine that has been flowing from the Capitol about possible cooperation was a product of public relations, not reality. The two sides have deep, fundamental differences. Reconciling them is not going to be easy.

COMMENTS