ST. PAUL, Minn. - State lawmakers will likely be working through the night as the end of the session nears, finalizing the state's 38 billion dollar budget and discussing the tax bill that would fund that spending. The deadline for adjournment is midnight, Monday May 20th.
The tax bill would raise more than two billion dollars by raising taxes on cigarettes - $1.60 per pack - and taxing the income of the top 2 percent earners in Minnesota.
A $15.7 billion K-12 funding bill is on its way to Governor Dayton after the House and Senate passed the measure Sunday. It funds all day kindergarten in Minnesota.
The House tabled a controversial discussion on whether to allow daycare employees and personal care attendants to unionize. The measure has more than 100 amendments and twice this week debates stretched into the early morning hours.
"I'll be here the rest of the night and into tomorrow if it has to be that way," said Darleen Henry, a Rosemount personal care attendant who looks after her mother.
"I am very upset about how long it's been taking, I've been to every committee hearing, testified a few times and I feel like the same things repeated over again. I feel like not a lot of people have not researched the bill so they are asking the same questions over and over again. And it's just ridiculous in there," said Henry.
Pay increases for Minnesota lawmakers won't be happening this legislative session.
Legislative negotiators finalized a budget bill Sunday covering various state agency operations and government operations. It does not include a provision passed previously in the Senate that would have given lawmakers a nearly $10,000 a year raise by 2015, and another bump the year after that on their current salaries of $31,000 a year.
Sunday lawmakers also rejected a gas tax increase. They plan to vote on the final spending bill Monday.
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