Dayton Undecided on Whether He Will Sign Budget

May 27, 2017 07:44 PM

Governor Mark Dayton said he will decide whether to sign or veto the Legislature's recently approved budget by midnight Tuesday.

Lawmakers finished passing the remaining pieces of a $46 billion budget in a special session that ended around 3 a.m. Friday. That came after Dayton and Republicans struck a broad framework for a deal to finalize the budget earlier this week.

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"I'm just not going to speculate what I might or might not do until I have a chance to give them the consideration they need," Dayton said at a press conference Friday afternoon. "They've had five months. We deserve three days to assess the final products."

RELATED: Minnesota Legislature Passes $46B Budget in Special Session

DFLers criticized the final versions of the tax bill, arguing most of the tax breaks favor the rich and large corporations. They also argue the education and health and human services bills shortchange Minnesotans by possibly leading to tuition increases, teacher layoffs and fewer services for the low income, disabled and elderly.

"These are not just numbers they are real people's lives and the cuts you are enforcing particularly in human services are going to affect real people," Dayton said.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Gov. Dayton on Budget Bills, Special Session

Dayton also criticized Republican lawmakers for sending him the so-called preemtion bill, which links pension and paid parental leave benefits for state employees to the controversial issue of local control over labor laws. The governor had threatened to veto the preemption bill, before lawmakers included the other provisions he favors.

"It's just cruel, just cruel to do that to good people," Dayton said.

He said disappointment is an "unavoidable" product of the state's divided government.

"There were parts of it I reluctantly agreed to that I'm unhappy with, and there are parts I'm sure they agreed to that I'm sure they are unhappy with as well," Dayton said.

But the Democratic has to weigh those concerns against the possibility of a government shutdown if he vetoes anything. And he notes the budget may be as good as he can get from a Republican Legislature.

Lawmakers passed the $46 billion budget after three extra days in session, several sleepless nights and some horse-trading.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said "There's no question that it was a grind."

The broad budget agreement would put $650 million toward tax relief, expand preschool offerings by $50 million and dedicate $300 million to fix roads and bridges.

Dayton is also on the verge of having authority over the state's historic preservation work transferred to his administration.

The Star Tribune reports the move comes months after the governor skirmished with the Minnesota Historical Society, which currently oversees that work, over what artwork should hang at the state Capitol.

Dayton had wanted to replace some Civil War paintings to better reflect the state's entire history, and the historical society decided otherwise.

A bill passed in the special session would move the State Historic Preservation Office to the Department of Administration, which reports to the governor. Dayton has only to sign the bill to finalize it.

Dayton's staff said the dispute had nothing to do with the push to transfer the work.

KSTP's Matt Belanger contributed to this report

Credits

AP

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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