Dayton Vetoes Legislative Funding, Republicans Prepare for Legal Fight
House republicans are calling the governor's move unconstitutional and are threatening to sue
DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota governor Mark Dayton signed the state’s budget and bonding bills Tuesday to avoid a state government shutdown, but now, he’s taking some serious heat after deciding to veto funding to the house and senate as a way to get lawmakers to fix some key issues included in the bills.
House republicans are calling this move unconstitutional and they’re threatening a legal fight.
Dayton was in Duluth Wednesday alongside legislators from northeast Minnesota. In front of a group at Duluth’s city hall, he said didn’t want to see another state government shutdown like back in 2011, so he is using what he calls his constitutional right as governor to make sure five crucial areas get fixed.
“I challenge the republicans who keep talking about this and that, and constitutional or whatever else because they want to avoid talking about these five issues,” said Dayton.
Among the issues Dayton wants addressed, changes to the tax bill that would eliminate tax freezes on cigarette and cigar companies, striking tax cuts for some of the wealthiest people in the state, and removing a provision that would cut property taxes for businesses.
“If they’ve got a resolution available, they come in next week, and we can agree to take these terrible measures out and get this resolved,” Dayton added. “But if they want to have a protracted legal fight then we’ll have to go through with that.”
Which is exactly what speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) says he plans to look at, issuing a statement that reads in part: “I am disappointed in the governor’s behavior and his decision to veto our operating budget over differences he previously agreed to. The governor has left the legislature no choice but to seek outside counsel in an effort to defend the people’s voice at the capitol.”
Dayton says republicans in the house and senate are putting the priorities of wealthy corporations ahead of the real Minnesotans.
“I have heard various rumors, but again I think they want the focus on legal and constitutional questions which only the Minnesota Supreme Court can decide definitively, rather than telling the people of Minnesota why these five provisions should remain.”
Local legislators Jennifer Schultz (DFL) and Mary Murphy (DFL), stand behind Dayton’s decision.
“I know firsthand after being there for three years the government truly cares about people,” said Schultz. “He truly cares about the people of Minnesota. That’s why we are seeing right now the discussion about not funding the house and senate until these toxic policies, that will hurt Minnesota, come out of these bills.”
The legislative funds of $130 million the governor vetoed would pay salaries of house and senate members for the next two years.
Republican legislative leaders will meet Friday to decide if they will move forward with a case to sue Dayton.
That decision is expected to be made soon with current funding for legislators only running through June 30.