Legislative Session Countdown Begins

Posted at: 01/01/2013 5:19 PM
Updated at: 01/01/2013 6:34 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It’s almost time for Minnesota lawmakers to go back to work.

The 2013 Minnesota legislative session opens a week from now.

And it will open with a balance-of-power we haven't seen in decades.

"I think people did elect Democrats because they saw something there and they wanted to have less gridlock and more progress," said DFL state representative Jeanne Poppe of Austin.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Democrats will control the Minnesota House, Senate and Governorship.

"Minnesotans want us to lead, they want us to govern, they want us to make common sense decisions and I think we're ready to do that," Representative Jeanne Poppe told us.

When the 2013 session opens, Minnesota will face a predicted budget deficit of $1.1 billion dollars.

"What that means is that there's more promises than revenue coming in," said Republican state senator Carla Nelson of Rochester.

“We have not been willing to balance the budget for a number of years now and I think this will be the year we do it in an honest, transparent way," said DFL state representative Kim Norton of Rochester.

"In the past a lot of times it's been how do we cut our way into the future. We have to look at how do we grow our way into the future," added DFL representative Jeanne Poppe.

"How can we do them better, how can we do them smarter, how can we do them more efficiently because we need to have sustainable government," said Republican senator Carla Nelson, who will find herself in the minority party for the first time this session.

"I think you'll see a major tax reform effort, little bits and pieces have happened in past years but I think this might be the year when that's part of the whole overall plan," representative Kim Norton predicted.

"The Democratic majority is also interest in economic growth and job creation, so that's what we really need to focus on," said republican senator Carla Nelson.

But don’t expect “cooperation” to go out the window: "It takes all voices in the room to get the best legislation and I anticipate we'll be willing to do that," said democrat Kim Norton.