Disappointed with Dayton vetoes, GOP legislative leaders say government shutdown still can be avoided

House and Senate GOP leaders returned from today’s six-stop state fly-around to promote their $34 billion budget troubled that Gov. Mark Dayton had vetoed all the key bills but optimistic that a government shutdown could be prevented.

They expressed that view despite Dayton calling some freshmen Republicans “right-wing extremists” uninterested in governing. The govenror said that’s the reason neither side could compromise on Minnesota’s $5 billion budget deficit during the regular session.

The nine budget bill vetoes dropped as the GOP leaders were en route to Moorhead, Minn., as part of their effort to sell their view of state finances to activists, supporters, the press and some union workers.

“The book of vetoes we got today was disappointing from the standpoint of a lot of work over four and a half months [in session],” House Speaker Kurt Zellers said upon returning to St. Paul.

Republicans say they’ve proposed a balanced, business-friendly budget in contrast to what they say is Dayton’s tax-heavy, job-killing spending proposal.

“This [GOP-proposed] budget is not to fill a hole, but to live within our means,” Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said.

The Republicans also indicated they wanted to work with Dayton quickly in a special session to avoid a government shutdown come July 1, the start of the new biennium.

Dayton, who was “pessimistic” about finishing on time in the first place, said earlier today that he thinks a shutdown is likely. No meetings are currently scheduled between lawmakers, and the governor said he won’t call a special session until agreement is reached over the entire budget.

“Talking about the shutdown scenario is awful,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel said. “We don’t think Gov. Dayton is going to take us on this path to a shutdown to spend more.”

They pointed to such bills as the K-12 budget legislation, where they were “within spittin’ distance of the governor’s own budget,” as Koch said, as areas where they wished there could be compromise.

Republicans were also disappointed with the govenror’s “extremist” comments.

“I have a very negative response to that because he’s talking about our members,” House Majority Leader Matt Dean said. “It takes an incredible amount of determination to [run].”

Kevin Watterson, a House GOP Staffer, tweeted shortly after: “[Rep.] Mike LeMeiur sells furnaces and fights fires. [Mark Dayton] says he’s an extremist.”

Tuesday’s political exchanges echoed much of the same messaging that dominated the final weeks of the legislative session, which wrapped up Monday.

When asked if he’s counting on a shutdown, Zellers responded, “No, not at all.”

“This isn’t a time to quit,” he said. “We just got done with session yesterday.”

Dean noted that perhaps the pressure on a new administration to prepare for a shutdown could weigh heavily enough to spur compromise.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Matty Lang on 05/24/2011 - 09:26 pm.

    Since when did the MN GOP start admiring Hollywood? They are making a strong showing for the best actor Oscar with this performance. They sure can stick to their lines with a straight face!

  2. Submitted by Claire Lundgren on 05/24/2011 - 11:15 pm.

    The GOP leadership seems to have left the room! What planet are they on anyhow? If they are about creating jobs, why are they against new revenue? The budget and the economy has to come before social extremism. They’ve wasted our time visiting marriage issues that are not the business of the government. GOP- get back to your real jobs! And start listening to your constituents- not your (not chosen by the people) Chairman.

  3. Submitted by Mike Underwood on 05/25/2011 - 06:15 am.

    Why are these Legislators flying around the State asking the Govenor to compromise,they need to compromise!!
    Oh, I forgot, it was to crow about their “business-friendly budget”!!
    What a bunch of elitists!!!

  4. Submitted by will lynott on 05/25/2011 - 07:55 am.

    “Talking about the shutdown scenario is awful,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel said. “We don’t think Gov. Dayton is going to take us on this path to a shutdown to spend more.”

    Michel, this sound bite didn’t resonate last week and it’s not resonating now. A lot of people didn’t think you people would take us to a shutdown in order to maintain your rich friends as the sole economic demographic that is not being asked to pitch in to resolve the deficit.

  5. Submitted by L.A. Krahn on 05/25/2011 - 08:19 am.

    Missing argument: “More skin in the game” from top earners.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot that phrase is only trotted out by the GOP when they propose market-based concepts to squeeze the lower eschelons of Minnesota society.

  6. Submitted by Wayne Sather on 05/25/2011 - 10:10 am.

    Implicit in the remarks of Dean, Zellars and Michel is their unswerving belief that compromise means “if we all agree with me, how happy we will be!” Of course it doesn’t mean that to those of us who dwell in a world where the sky is perceived as being colored blue. Until the right wing learns that not everybody who disagrees with them is wrong, we can probably look forward to more of the same.

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