- Associated Press - Sunday, May 22, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Latest on the last work day for the Minnesota Legislature (all times local):

9 p.m.

The mad dash to the Legislature’s finish line is underway.

Lawmakers face a deadline at midnight Sunday to pass their spending plans for the state’s $900 million budget surplus. The Democrat-led Senate passed a package of $260 million in tax cuts for farmers, parents, businesses and college graduates following earlier passage in the House.

In the House chamber, lawmakers prepared to pass a supplemental spending bill with extra funding for broadband Internet grants and a preschool program.

A transportation funding package was still at question as time ticked away at the Capitol. A top Senate Democrat says the prospect of finding a compromise for a decade of road and bridge repair is over.

8:45 p.m.

A top Democrat in the Senate says the prospects of passing a major transportation funding package this year are over.

Legislative leaders spent the weekend trying to break a stalemate on how to fund road and bridge repairs. Democrats who control the Senate have called for a gasoline tax increase, while House Republicans want to use the state’s budget surplus and some borrowing.

Sen. Scott Dibble is the Senate’s top negotiator on transportation. He said Sunday evening that a compromise on a 10-year funding mechanism was officially out of reach.

House GOP lawmakers appeared to pivot to a smaller plan that could provide a one-time infusion of money for transportation repairs. It was unclear whether Senate Democrats and Gov. Mark Dayton would approve of that approach.

5:15 p.m.

Legislative leaders can’t even agree whether it’s likely a transportation funding package will get finished this year.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk told reporters Sunday that he wouldn’t bet on a compromise coming together. Hours earlier, House Speaker Kurt Daudt said he’s confident a deal is in sight.

It’s the largest piece of unfinished work lawmakers are hoping to tackle before a midnight Sunday deadline. A stalemate over how to build a 10-year funding package had some Republicans suggesting a one-year infusion for transportation fixes.

Bakk says he wouldn’t back that approach. The two parties are still split on funding sources, with Democrats proposing a gas tax increase or other new fees while GOP lawmakers want the money to come from the state’s $900 million budget surplus.

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3:30 p.m.

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt says legislative leaders are still searching for a compromise on how to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in annual transportation fixes.

Daudt told reporters Sunday afternoon that he’s confident the Legislature is going to get something done on transportation before lawmakers must stop passing bills at midnight.

The speaker wouldn’t discuss any details of what was on the table, including whether the GOP’s own proposal to increase license tab fees was still an option.

Proposals have ranged from borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to using existing taxes on auto parts sales to pay for an estimated $600 million per year in road and bridge repairs over the next decade.

A bonding bill full of public works projects across Minnesota was poised for a late resolution, as negotiators waited to see whether a transportation deal would materialize and require a slice of borrowing.

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1:50 p.m.

The state House has overwhelmingly passed a $260 million package of tax cuts and credits.

House members voted 123-10 Sunday afternoon to approve a tax relief package that would offer property tax relief to farmers and businesses, create a new tax credit for college graduates with loan debt and expand aid to Minnesota parents with childcare costs.

The measure passed with only a handful of House Democrats opposed. Some raised concerns that the cuts could lead to a deficit in future years and that the measure included a handful of reductions on tobacco taxes.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said his support for the tax cuts hinges on seeing a package of spending proposals that meets his requirements. He says a phased-in preschool program and funding for expanding broadband Internet infrastructure and tackling racial disparities are necessary.

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11:45 a.m.

State lawmakers have made headway in St. Paul on tax relief and spending packages but still have much to do as a midnight Sunday deadline looms.

Legislative leaders holed up for hours of private meetings throughout Saturday, stretching into early Sunday morning. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said late Saturday evening they had reached broad agreements on budget areas that would meet the governor’s demands.

On Sunday morning a joint committee of lawmakers finished their work on that spending package, but it still needed to pass both chambers later in the day. The House began taking up a $260 million package of tax cuts and credits.

Leaders have yet to strike deals on a transportation funding plan and a public works package. They cannot pass bills past midnight Sunday.

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