Capitol Math: Fiscal Note Numbers + GOP Numbers = Summer in St. Paul

Yesterday, DFL Governor Dayton reminded us that there is a lot of budget negotiating that needs to happen before the May 23rd statutory adjournment date. After all, at this stage, the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed no overall budget, has sent Dayton only one appropriations bill, and hasn’t suggested a single option to meet the Governor half way towards his position that both cuts and revenue be on the negotiating table.

All of which means that the Kelly Inn looks to be selling a lot of hooch this summer.

But those aren’t the most fundamental barriers the Legislature and Governor face. The aforementioned items eventually can be negotiated. They aren’t easy or happy negotiations, mind you. But once folks start negotiating in good faith, in the wee hours before the deadline, a resolution to those issues is not difficult to imagine.

But here is the more fundamental and unique problem that Minnesota’s negotiators face in 2011. Negotiations are not even possible until the two sides have agreed upon budget numbers. The insiders’ argument about the validity of the “fiscal notes” calculated by state government’s non-partisan fiscal referee, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office, is not the sexiest of issues. But it may just be the most consequential issue to resolve in the coming weeks.

Think I’m overstating the problem? Ever tried to negotiate with someone with a different understanding of numbers than you do?

– Loveland

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