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Dayton: There won’t be a special session in 2016

After months of fruitless negotiations, Gov. Mark Dayton announced he would not call the Minnesota Legislature into special session.

Gov. Mark Dayton said negotiations hadn’t progressed since the final night of the 2016 session.
MinnPost file photo by Briana Bierschbach

Gov. Mark Dayton said he won’t call a special session of the Minnesota Legislature, after months of negotiations failed produce any movement on an impasse over light rail transit funding.

After a brief meeting between Dayton and top leaders in the Legislature Thursday, Dayton said negotiations hadn’t progressed since the final night of the 2016 session, when a one-time transportation funding bill and nearly $1 billion package of bonding projects blew up over whether a funding mechanism for light rail was included.

In the weeks after session ended, Dayton also vetoed a $260 million package of tax cuts because the bill included a drafting error surrounding taxation of bingo halls that would cost the state $100 million over the next three years.

Without the special session, all of those proposals will have to wait until next year. Dayton said he plans to introduce bonding and tax proposals at the start of the 2017 session, using the two failed bills as bases.

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Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said Republicans refused to budge on their opposition to allowing metro-area counties to raise the money needed to pay for the state share of the controversial Southwest Light Rail Line project. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Democrats killed the prospect for tax cuts and bonding projects across the state over the project.

Daudt also said he thinks the SWLRT project is “dead” after their opposition, though Dayton is meeting Friday with Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck to look at their funding options.

Check MinnPost tomorrow for more coverage.