Dayton (officially) vetoes education budget bill

As promised many, many (many) times over, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton picked up his executive pen at 3:36 p.m. Thursday and vetoed the Legislature’s K-12 education budget, teeing up a special session sometime later this summer.

In a veto letter given to the press earlier this week, before Republicans had even delivered the education bill to the governor, Dayton laid out his complaints with the proposal, including an “insufficient” budget target and no funding for his universal, half-day preschool education proposal. All the while, Dayton said, legislative leaders left $1 billion on the bottom line to deal with tax cuts and transportation spending next session.

“As I have said before, the bill’s total investment of $400 million is insufficient given the state’s large surplus. In 2013, with a projected budget deficit of $627 million, the spending increase above the base for E-12 education was $606 million,” Dayton’s veto letter read. “It is astonishing that with a $1.9 billion surplus, and more than $1 billion left on the bottom for future tax cuts, there would be less invested in our schools this year. And it is incomprehensible that estate tax cuts for millionaires and property tax relief for large corporations are higher priorities for your House Republican Caucus than investing adequately in our students and young children.”

Initially, Dayton wanted $150 million more put into education funding over the next two years with his preschool proposal included, but in 11th hour negotiations with lawmakers Monday night, the governor said he was willing to come down to $125 million and drop his preschool plan. Republicans said they could agree to $100 million more in funding, but no solution was reached before legislators were required to adjourn at midnight.

The veto is the kickoff of special session negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders. Dayton plans to visit a school in Apple Valley on Friday to as part of a public campaign to push for his preschool plan.

“Our education budget was the picture of bipartisanship – where both sides came together to do what is right for our youngest Minnesotans,” House Republican Education Chairwoman Jenifer Loon said in a statement. “I am disappointed that Governor Dayton is forcing a special session over an education bill that garnered such strong support from both sides of the aisle and made a significant financial commitment to our students.”

Dayton and House Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt will meet to discuss special session on Tuesday. 

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Bill Willy on 05/21/2015 - 07:13 pm.

    He does make a couple pretty good points

    “In 2013, with a projected budget deficit of $627 million, the spending increase above the base for E-12 education was $606 million.”

    I’ve been wondering about that one myself. Anyone care to explain why 627 was possible with a deficit and only 400’s possible with a billion in the bank (preschool or not)?

    “And it is incomprehensible that estate tax cuts for millionaires and property tax relief for large corporations are higher priorities for your House Republican Caucus than investing adequately in our students and young children.”

    The fact that he IS one of the millionaires he’s talking about, whose millions CAME from one of those large corporations he’s talking about, tends to give him a little more credibility on the issue than most people talking about it.

    For me, anyway… “He should know,” right?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/25/2015 - 10:37 pm.

      Rationale

      Please help me understand the logic that we need to increase funding based on revenues, rather than based on need. So if we had double the surplus, we should spend even more? Does the opposite apply then, if we have a huge deficit, should we severely cut programs and spending?

      Personally, I think we should spending based on what is actually needed to fulfill the defined tasks. And the rest should be given back to those who paid too much, so they can use their money as they wish.

  2. Submitted by John Appelen on 05/21/2015 - 09:57 pm.

    Interesting Quote

    “the bill’s total investment of $400 million is insufficient given the state’s large surplus”

    The logic fascinates me, we made more this year so we should commit to a long term year after year after year government spending increase. Or is he thinking we will discontinue universal pre k when the next recession occurs?

    I mean we just added full day pre K to the year after year after year government expense, now he wants to add more to the tax payer’s bill.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/22/2015 - 07:36 am.

    speaking of priorities…

    Seems to me Dayton gave most of a billion bucks to one millionaire and a bunch of pampered football players when he forced through his stadium without a referendum.

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