It’s expected the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House will vote today (Mon) to ratify new state employee contracts that the unions negotiated with the Walz administration — setting up a fight with the Republican-controlled Senate.   G-O-P Majority Leader Paul Gazelka argues with the state’s big budget deficit, it’s not the right time for a state employee pay raise to take effect July 1st. Gazelka says the contracts should be renegotiated:

“My hope, frankly, is that we allow the pay raise that was there last July, and a freeze going forward.”

Senate Republicans have significant leverage in negotiations with Democrats because, if the legislature does *not* approve the new contracts, state employees’ pay goes back to what it was before July 1st of last year — basically a pay cut.