May 23, 2018 06:33 PM
Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday vetoed the tax conformity and budget bills that state lawmakers passed in the waning days of the session.
The Democratic governor's veto knocked down the two biggest pieces of legislation that the Republican-controlled Legislature pushed through just as time was running out.
Dayton had said that the so-called tax conformity bill did too little for ordinary people. In his veto letter, he also renewed criticism of Republicans for what he called "fake education funding" tucked into the bill. Dayton had asked lawmakers late in the session to approve $138 million to aid school districts with budget shortfalls. He said the GOP didn't come up with enough new money for schools, instead simply repurposing or shifting money from elsewhere.
"If they wanted to get that done for the people of Minnesota, they would have put it in a separate bill," Dayton said.
The failure to agree on the tax bill sets Minnesotans up for tax filing headaches next year, including possibly higher bills for money. The Legislature had needed to tweak its state tax code to account for the big federal overhaul passed late last year.
The massive budget bill was filled with spending that is important to many, including funding aimed at making schools safer. It also had money to boost oversight of senior care facilities.
"There are good pieces of the bill, which they combined with a lot of junk," Dayton said.
Dayton has vowed not to call a special session.
After the Legislature adjourned Monday, Republicans had begun an aggressive lobbying campaign to pressure Dayton to sign the bills. They brought a parade of Minnesotans to the steps of the Capitol Monday — business owners with higher taxes on the line, deputy registrars who would get reimbursed for the extra costs of the troubled driver registration system MNLARS and a man whose late mother was abused at a senior care center.
Unlike lawmakers in the House, Dayton isn't facing election-year pressure. He is set to leave office in early 2019.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt denied Dayton's accusations against lawmakers.
"I am actually to the point where I am embarrassed for the governor that he did this and I don't know how we move forward from this," Daudt said.
With both sides trading barbs, who is really to blame?
"This failure is their responsibility," Dayton said.
"I can't answer for how illogical this governor has been the last two weeks," Daudt said, "and beyond that."
The Associated Press and Jonathan Rozelle
Updated: May 23, 2018 06:33 PM
Created: May 23, 2018 11:18 AM
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