Senate Republican leaders say their budget bills could hit the floor as soon as tonight, even if they are veto bait. Majority Leader Amy Koch said she was very disappointed with Gov. Mark Dayton’s comments earlier today, but didn’t specify further. Assistant Majority Leader Dave Thompson called Dayton’s behavior “erratic” using an adjective the GOP used against Dayton in the campaign. Leaders say the governor says one thing to them behind closed doors and another to the press. Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel said at the Governor’s Residence this morning Dayton made it clear he would hold out until 2012 to get his revenue, “I can’t believe the governor would hold Minnesotans hostage for a tax increase.”
Meanwhile the Republican-led House held more than four hours of debate on Gov. Dayton’s tax increase. Many Democrats stood up to say they were proud to vote with the governor on his new plan. DFL leaders expected near unanimity on the vote and got all but one Democrat, Rep. Gene Pelowski, to vote green. Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) said in the long debate “No new taxes has meant no new jobs.” Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) asked in what way does the Republican plan make the top 2% of earners contribute to solving the deficit? Dozens of lawmakers spoke on the rare move of bringing up a minority report.