It's crunch time

By Chuck Kajer

The Minnesota Legislature is in the final days of the current session. Representatives and senators will adjourn - hopefully for the rest of the year - on Monday.

This session has had its share of grandstanding, posturing and blaming. It has had its contentious moments - such as Republican reaction to several of their members voting to override the Governor's veto of the transportation bill.

But for most of the current session, business was getting done. Republicans and Democrats found common ground on some bills and negotiations. Still, there is much work left to do. On Tuesday, lawmakers and the governor broke off negotiations on the most important bill, which would make adjustments to balance a nearly $1 billion shortfall in the state's budget.

Walking away from these talks does no one any good. With less than a week before adjournment, lawmakers and Gov. Pawlenty should be making every effort to come to an agreement that Minnesotans can support. Instead, the legislature - with votes from both parties - thumbed their nose at the governor by passing an education funding bill that will surely be vetoed. It seems some legislative leaders are more interested in creating issues and votes to bring up during this fall's elections than in addressing the state's problems.

Legislators who are already upset about line-item vetoes from the bonding bill would be wise to work with the governor to resolve these issues. 2008 is not a budgeting session, so if these issues go unresolved there won't be any special sessions. Instead, the governor can use his power of unallotment to make his own decisions about how to balance the state's budget.

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