Governor Mark Dayton signed state budget bills Tuesday, but vetoed funding for the Minnesota Legislature in an effort to force lawmakers back to the bargaining table to rescind policy measures opposed by many Minnesotans.
Labor leaders, who had urged vetoes of the budget bills, praised the move.
“Gov. Mark Dayton knows what bargaining in bad faith looks like and today he called the legislative negotiators on it,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “We agree with the governor that the people of Minnesota deserve better than sneak attacks, last-minute tricks and poison pills. Any teacher would grade their work ‘unsatisfactory.’”
Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy issued the following statement:
“Working people across the state echo Governor Mark Dayton’s call for lawmakers to return to the Capitol to fix their divisive budget bills.
“The Republican budget, which hands out tax giveaways to billionaires and big business while attacking educators and immigrants, is morally bankrupt.
“We applaud Governor Dayton’s decision to spare our state a painful government shutdown while denying the Legislature its appropriation until they do right by Minnesotans.”
Dayton announced Tuesday he would sign into law nine budget bills that make up the state’s $46 billion, two-year budget, and would allow a $650 million tax bill to become law without his signature.
But he also line-item vetoed funding for the Minnesota House and Senate, an attempt, he said, to bring leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature back to the table to remove a handful of provisions in the tax bill and education and public safety budget bills that he does not want to become law.
The provisions include changes in teacher licensing requirements and language prohibiting many immigrants from getting drivers licenses.
Dayton said during an evening news conference he had strong disagreements with portions of each of the budget bills to which he put his signature. But, reading from a letter he sent to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, the governor explained he was seeking to avoid “a bitter June showdown” and potential state shutdown.
"If I was to veto them I would put the entire state government on the brink of a shutdown," he said.
The governor’s line-item veto forces legislative leaders to strike another deal with Dayton for a summer special session if they want to restore House and Senate funding before the new fiscal year begins July 1.
Dayton, as expected, vetoed an omnibus jobs bill that included “preemption” language that would prevent cities from passing their own employment standards on private employers. The vetoed bill also included items the governor wanted, like paid parental leave for state employees and the ratification of public sector union contracts.
This article includes reporting from Session Daily, the online publication of the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The Minnesota Legislature convened Jan. 3 with an agenda including the state budget and longstanding issues such as transportation and health care.