Dayton, governors call for bipartisan approach to fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton joined a bipartisan group of governors for fiscal cliff meetings in Washington on Tuesday.

The governors, members of the National Governors Association Executive Committee, met with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday morning; they’ll meet with House and Senate leadership this afternoon.

In a conference call with reporters, Dayton said the governors, including Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, called for a bipartisan approach to averting the scheduled year-end tax increases and spending cuts, which economists say will lead to another recession.

“There’s an impact here not just on the fiscal issues but how the actions here will actually impact the economy back home as well,” [Delaware Gov. Jack] Markell said. “We agreed today we would focus on what we have in common, which frankly is a lot.”

Washington, meanwhile, is at a standstill on budget negotiations. While Republicans have proposed cuts to spending and reforming the tax code to tame the nation’s growing debt, Democrats and Obama’s administration are advocating for allowing the Bush-era tax rates to increase on the top two percent of income earners in order to generate revenue.

The governors demurred when asked which side’s plan they would endorse.

“You got to come together and get this done,” [Utah Gov. Gary] Herbert said. “This impacts the economy, the uncertainty out there is creating havoc with the economy in our states.”

The governors also said there was a discussion pushing for more flexibility in implementing federally mandated programs.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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