Republicans celebrate session as Dayton mulls budget vetoes

Claudine Rigal
Mai 31, 2017

Dayton on Tuesday signed most of a $46 billion budget but vetoed funding specifically for the state Legislature with an eye to forcing a second special session.

Gov. Dayton was under heavy pressure from teachers, union members, immigrant groups, and even some DFL lawmakers to veto numerous budget bills.

The Minnesota Legislature passed a almost $6 billion funding package for transportation in its special session. Dayton's veto of legislative funding, announced Tuesday evening, came as a surprise.

Support for the bill was largely along partisan lines, but did get some DFL votes in the Senate.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, speaking before Dayton's press conference late Tuesday afternoon, said Republicans had worked well with Dayton over the past session to compromise on the upcoming budget. "If the tax bill does not get signed, the Revenue Department will not get funded". Dayton refuses to call a special session to restore the funding until legislative leaders agree to repeal the ban on undocumented immigrant drivers licenses in the public safety bill.

Minnesota state government has a budget, other than for the Legislature. Rep. Jack Considine, DFL-Mankato, is concerned with transportation funding in particular, saying it relies on borrowing too much money without a new, sustainable funding source.

To ensure the governor signs it, lawmakers buried a poison pill in the government finance bill, which funds the Department of Revenue for the next two years at $310 million. It also allocates about $300 million over the next four years for the state's Corridors of Commerce program, which has helped funding Highway 14 expansion projects in recent years.

Daudt also said the provision was in several "drafts" of the tax bill the Dayton administration reviewed last week before the legislature adjourned.

"I think it is a separation of power issue", Gazelka said.

"We have time to do that, and we'll make sure that the language does what it's supposed to do", he said.

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