Dayton ‘can’t say’ if he’ll call for special session to deal with transportation, bonding

Office of the Governor
Gov. Mark Dayton: “I’ve given it 14 hours and four minutes of thought, and I haven’t come to any conclusions one way or another.”

Gov. Mark Dayton said he is disappointed the 2016 session ended without a long-term transportation plan or a bonding bill, but he hasn’t decided yet whether he will call lawmakers back to try and pass those proposals.

Legislators failed to pass a $1 billion bonding bill — which included one-time cash for roads and bridge projects — in the final moments of the 2016 session Sunday evening. DFL senators, who were upset the last-minute deal didn’t include funding for public transit projects, amended the bill with minutes to go and sent it back to the House. Instead of taking up the bill with transit funding included, the House adjourned for the year. 

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt asked Dayton Monday if he would consider calling legislators back for a one-day special session to pass a bonding and transportation bill. Only the governor has the power to call special sessions.

“Whether or not there will be a special session I can’t say today,” Dayton said. “I’ve given it 14 hours and four minutes of thought, and I haven’t come to any conclusions one way or another.”

Lawmakers did manage to send Dayton two bills, a $300 million budget proposal and a $260 million tax cut bill. The governor said he will review those proposals as soon as he gets them, but he won’t hold them “hostage” to the special session negotiations. The governor has 14 days after a biennium to either sign or veto bills, but Dayton said he plans to take action on those bills within 48 hours of reviewing them.

“I don’t think dragging this out for two weeks serves anybody’s interests,” Dayton said. “Bonding and transportation should be considered and acted on on their own merits.”

Dayton both praised and criticized portions of the tax and budget bills. He railed on deductions for tobacco companies in the tax cut package, but he likes new credits for college students. In the supplemental budget bill, Dayton lamented that the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system got “virtually” no funding, but he’s happy it included $25 million for his signature preschool proposal.

He also didn’t set a timeline for calling a possible special session. “There’s not a deadline like last year with the end of the fiscal year,” Dayton said. “If we are going to do it, it’s got to be done right.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Craig Johnson on 05/24/2016 - 08:38 am.

    Aversion to taxes

    simply means you do not understand the role of government. A ‘No new taxes’ stance seems more like a ostrich hiding its head in the sand. Harry Truman identified the different potential roles of democratic leadership as either being a caretaker or an activist. While we have had plenty of ‘do nothing’ representatives in government letting the public think that such a position is in the public interest is a mistake.

    There is an essential role of governance to make sure tax money is spent wisely and to the benefit of the welfare of citizens of the state.
    •Infrastructure including of course transportation
    •Public Safety
    •Public Health
    When business pleas for Light Rail to transport workers and we don’t take the responsibility to evaluate the problem/solution considering the general good for the entire state we are making a mistake and this legislative session has set a record for mistakes. These critical investments impact the vitality of the entire state.

    I see no valor in the swagger of proclaiming ‘I voted against all tax increases and supported a bill that would reduce tobacco tax.’ Tough Guy? Not really.

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