Republican legislative leaders are very angry that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed their business tax relief bill this morning, and say they don’t think they can work with him anymore.
They said the tax bill was one of their top session priorities, so they don’t feel compelled to help pass Dayton’s priority — the publicly funded Vikings stadium.
That wouldn’t seem to bode well for the votes coming next week on putting state money into a nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
The Republican response came just a few hours later after Dayton vetoed the tax bill, which would have directed much tax relief to businesses but little to homeowners.
Senate Tax Chair Julianne Ortman called the veto “terrible” and said the governor might have “burned his last bridge” with the GOP-led Legislature.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem called the veto a slap in the face and said he’s tired of the governor calling Republican leaders “liars.”
Ortman said because Dayton had vetoed the top Republican priority, there there will be consequences. “I don’t know how we can work with him again,” she said.
While this rhetoric indicates a stiffening of Republican leadership against helping get the stadium bill passed, it’s still unclear how the tax veto will affect next week’s stadium votes.
Republican sponsors of the publicly subsidized stadium continued to say earlier today that they believe it will pass. Vikings officials said today they think the vote is close, although they still have to work on some members. Dayton predicted today that it will pass by one vote in both houses. He said that after calling on Republicans to treat taxes and the stadium as two separate issues, which doesn’t seem to be happening.
The Republican leadership this afternoon implied that they won’t help the governor on the stadium unless he’s willing to deal further on the tax bill. And House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he’ll try to keep working on taxes, in hopes of getting the governor to change his mind.
Zellers also took back some things he said yesterday in a radio interview, including that he opposes the stadium but hopes it passes. Today he said he doesn’t support the bill and will vote against it.
He said he misspoke in the contentious radio interview with KFAN’s Dan Barreiro.
Zellers also denied that he told NFL Commissioner that he could put up 34 or 35 Republican votes to pass the stadium bill. Gov. Dayton had said earlier in his tax veto press conference that he’d heard that Zellers made that offer.