Gov. Mark Dayton vetoes all GOP budget bills, foresees likely state government shutdown

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.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost/James Nord
Gov. Mark Dayton

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.

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Tim Walker on 05/24/2011 - 03:49 pm.

    What does saying that the GOP “leadership” is not to blame for the budget impasse?

    I guess Harry Truman was wrong when he said that the buck stops at the desk of the person at the top.

  2. Submitted by will lynott on 05/24/2011 - 03:54 pm.

    Go for it, Gov.

  3. Submitted by Martha Hardy on 05/24/2011 - 04:29 pm.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gov. Dayton for vetoing the extreme and destructive budget bills passed by the Minnesota Legislature. As a state employee, I truly believe that Minnesota cannot sustain the deep cuts proposed in these bills. The damage to K-12 and higher education, to healthcare, to libraries and to public workers would be catastrophic. It is time to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans and to make wealthy corporations pay their fare share.

    Thank you for your strong leadership and integrity.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/24/2011 - 05:33 pm.

    Thank you Gov. Dayton for the vetos; each and every one of them!

    The insider perspective seems to be that the Republicans were so out of touch with reality that they really, really, really believed that Gov. Dayton would eventually fold.

    The probably still believe that…

    HE WON’T.

    Now that the public can clearly see the amazing levels of damage your budget would have done, and so WILL NOT re-elect you…


    Your “base” is going to pull your endorsements if you compromise in any way, but, even if you don’t they’re going to see you as “losers” despite your principles…

    You might as well do what’s right and good and true and go with Dayton’s plan.

    You’re never going to get re-elected anyway, so you have nothing left to lose, but the difference is, if you compromise sooner than later, you won’t damage the Republican Party so deeply.

    If you go for a long government shut down while refusing to compromise, you’ll add a few additional years to the time the Republican Party will be anathema in Minnesota for each week you delay.

  5. Submitted by Steven Bailey on 05/24/2011 - 06:17 pm.

    Thank you Governor Dayton!!! I believe former Governor Arne Carlson would have done the same thing. The lunatic fringe is accidentally here for 2 years don’t let them add to the damage T-Paw did.

  6. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 05/24/2011 - 07:21 pm.

    “What does saying that the GOP “leadership” is not to blame for the budget impasse?”

    I doubt he truly believes that but that it is a strategic device meant to try to prod the leadership into controlling the crazies a bit better. Not that they’re not all crazy.

  7. Submitted by don carter on 05/24/2011 - 11:05 pm.

    How is it Minnesotans can elect a clown for governor each and every time??????????????

  8. Submitted by Rod Loper on 05/25/2011 - 07:48 am.

    The clowns are in the right wing caucuses in the legislature. The voters in upstate New York in a
    republican district just elected a democrat to
    congress over the Ryan budget. Once the all cuts
    budget sinks in, these Tea Party clowns will feel
    the heat as well.
    Our governor is an adult with Minnesota values.

  9. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 05/25/2011 - 08:21 am.

    Before anyone hurts their hand patting Gov. Dayton on the back, what do you think the outcome is going to be? The Gov has zero leverage. He cannot pass a tax increase with a veto and if a shutdown occurs the people most affected are government employees. I think the best he can hope for is gaming revenue.

  10. Submitted by don carter on 05/25/2011 - 09:04 am.

    @Rod…Dayton is not an adult with MN values….he is self surviving fool. How do you think we got in this debt hole we are in? Dayton has to stop digging us deeper in…We have to Cut spending Big Time and remove subsidies too…Wake up. You spenders time has come and gone…it’s called supply side economics. Demand side has been proven over and over to not work. Moderate demand and spend does not work. Socialism around the world and over 2000 year world history has never worked. WAKE UP FOOLS. Welfare is unsustainable…WORKFARE ONLY!

  11. Submitted by Bill Graves on 05/25/2011 - 09:30 am.

    When the shutdown happens, the party best able to control their message to capture and convince the public that the way they are framing the budget impasse is closest to the truth will prevail. Dayton is one person, the Republican majority is many. Dayton has proven that he can control his message time and time again. I don’t see the Republicans winning this battle.

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