Dayton Publicly Vetoes Republican Tax Bill

May 17, 2018 07:35 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Republican tax bill during a public appearance at a St. Paul elementary school Thursday.

Dayton made the announcement at Bruce Vento Elementary School, with several students behind him. Governor Dayton reiterated that he's willing to let the session end without signing a tax bill, if Republican legislators don't move on his request for emergency education relief.


"Because this veto is for these children and for their futures and for children all over St. Paul and the State of Minnesota who are going to be subjected to some very drastic budget cuts," Dayton said while surrounded by elementary school students.

The Minnesota governor previously said he wouldn't sign or negotiate with Republicans over the proposed tax bill unless an agreement was reached on emergency education aid. Dayton said $138 million is needed for nearly 60 school districts to avoid teacher layoffs.

"How do you tell these young people that some multi-national profits are more important than they are?" Dayton asked. "I just don't know how they can live with themselves."

RELATED: Negotiations on State Tax Bill Stall as Deadline Looms

However, Republican leaders have said conforming the state's tax code to the new federal tax law is of the utmost importance. They have also said Dayton's request for emergency school funding came too late in the session.

"So what the governor did today was veto a bill that would have put money in low and middle income Minnesotans pockets and I am incredibly disappointed the governor has decided to play politics with this bill," Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said at a news conference on the State Capitol steps surrounded by fellow lawmakers.

While Dayton said he's willing to compromise on the tax bill, he won't concede on the emergency school funding.

"They know what my priority is and if they're willing to compromise on it, I'm willing to compromise on things that I don't like," Dayton said. "There are going to be things in the tax bill that I would have to agree to in the spirit of compromise. Things that I think are bad policy."

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt sent Dayton a letter Thursday to request a meeting to continue negotiations.

"As you outlined in your April 9 letter, those issues include protecting elderly and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect, ensuring the safety of our schoolchildren, addressing the opioid crisis, and stabilizing the pensions of Minnesota workers," Gazelka and Daudt wrote in that note. "We also share an interest in passing a tax conformity bill that would protect Minnesotans from the hassle of difficult tax filings in 2019 and lower the tax burden on hard-working middle-class families."

"We have received your request for $138 million in new spending for schools, and share your support of a strong education system for all of Minnesota's children," Gazelka and Daudt wrote, proceeding to detail recent legislation passed to support education funding.

The veto came on the same day the House approved a constitutional amendment to dedicate some sales tax revenue to transportation repairs.

But voters shouldn't expect to see it on the ballot this fall.
The constitutional amendment faces stiff odds even after the House passed it on a 76-54 vote. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has said it likely won't get a vote in the narrowly divided Senate due to a lack of Democratic support.
If passed, the GOP-backed amendment would dedicate revenues from auto parts, repairs and rentals to a state transportation fund. Democrats have objected, saying it would take money from the general fund without raising new money.
Dayton has objected, too, but he doesn't have a say. Constitutional amendments passed by the Legislature don't need a governor's signature.

The Associated Press contributed to this story


Rebecca Omastiak

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