Key state lawmakers from both political parties and staff in the governor’s office are meeting in private to hammer out deals on a variety of issues, with the goal of wrapping up the 2012 legislative session soon — perhaps by this weekend. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says differences are narrowing.
“We’re trying to reach resolution,” Gronstal says. “We continue to move closer together every time we meet, so people of good faith are working things out.”
Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn says it appears lawmakers are on the cusp of an agreement on the six-and-a-quarter billion dollar state budget.
“My understand is we’re close and we’re right down to the nitty gritty, as they say,” Behn says. “But we haven’t quite gotten there.”
Legislators like Gronstal say an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on a plan to reduce commercial property taxes and address other tax-related issues is “close” — but there’s no final deal yet.
“I have continued to work in good faith with their folks,” Gronstal says. “We’re going to continue to see if we can find common ground. We’re pretty close, actually.”
And Gronstal refuses to discuss the details of a possible deal with reporters.
“Until that final deal is able to be hammered out with the various players, I’m not going to start talking about this or that,” Gronstal says.
The Senate’s Republican leader agrees that the details on the tax plan are “still up in the air.”
“When you look out the window and it’s a beautiful day and the sun is shining and it’s April 24th and it’s prime filet corn planting time, you want to get your work done and go home,” Behn says. “By the same token, you also know that you have to do the best while you’re here and that’s what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
Behn, by the way, is a farmer.