As promised, Gov. Mark Dayton today vetoed all nine remaining Republican budget and tax bills — and then said he believes there’s a “strong likelihood” of a government shutdown July 1.
The Star Tribune’s Rachel Stassen-Berger provides a handy roundup of all nine veto messages here.
The day after the regular session concluded without a budget agreement, Dayton blamed inexperienced freshmen lawmakers unused to governing for blocking any meaningful compromise and outlined countless problems he had with each budget bill in detailed veto letters.
“The problem really resides with some of the extreme right-wing caucus members” who, he said, are “captive to their extremism and whipped up by their party.”
“I concluded it’s not the leadership,” he said.
Dayton added that he had met lawmakers halfway on the budget after cutting his proposed tax increases in half to $1.8 billion. GOP lawmakers maintained that they’ve compromised, too, by increasing spending to $34 billion for the biennium after a February budget forecast projected an extra $1.2 billion in the state’s coffers.
Dayton said he hasn’t met many of these “extreme right wing” members, but reiterated his respect for — and cordial relationship with — the GOP leadership.
The governor will meet with Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter this afternoon to discuss plans for a possible shutdown, “if that should come about.” On their agenda is a review of the court process needed to determine which government programs will be deemed “essential services” to continue during any general shutdown.
Dayton confirmed today that he’d wait until a “global agreement” is in place on the overall budget before calling a special session.
He said he expects to begin meeting with GOP leaders late this week or early next week.
“I’m not inclined at this point … to call them back for a special session,” he said. “I’ll be in contact with them, and we’ll continue to have ongoing dialogues.”
The GOP leaders today were touring the state in a six-stop fly-around to promote their budget bills and tout Republican accomplishments this session. They heard news of the vetoes while in flight to Moorhead.
For his part, Dayton said he’s relying on Republican members’ constituents to encourage compromise.
“I’m pessimistic I can change their opinion,” Dayton said of the freshman lawmakers. “I think the people of Minnesota will have to speak out.”
He also added that he wouldn’t be coming forward with any more compromises.
“I think the reaching out needs to come from their constituents,” he said.
Dayton has been noticeably more pessimistic than GOP lawmakers on the course of negotiations this session.
On Monday, for example, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel still insisted he was “optimistic” a budget deal could be reached without a special session.
Republicans have framed the disagreement as Dayton being willing to shut down government operations to win a tax increase. The governor, meanwhile, maintains that he’s already made significant compromises and that the GOP’s “all cuts” budget would be extremely detrimental to the state and its citizens.
“That’s where I am today,” Dayton said. “That’s where I’ll be for 38 days” until the shutdown deadline.