by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed nine Republican budget bills on Tuesday, May 24, setting the stage for a special legislative session.
Lawmakers left the Capitol on Monday at end of regular session without solving the spending difference between the Republican-controlled Legislature and the governor.
Republicans want to hold spending for next two-year budget cycle at $34 billion while Dayton has called for $35.8 billion in spending.
“Compromise is never easy, because each person must give up something that is important,” said Dayton in a statement today.
“Compromise requires us to agree to items that we don’t agree with. That is the only way we will reconcile our differences on the state’s budget,” said Dayton.
In recent days Dayton has said he would not “cave” in negotiations with Republicans.
Republicans leaders in statements today used phrases they have used since the legislative session began.
“We came here in January, determined to balance the state’s budget deficit by living within our means and without raising taxes,” said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch in a statement on Monday.
“We came here to put a stop to the out-of-control government spending that is crippling our economy. Unfortunately, Governor Dayton chose to reject our balanced, compromise budget plan and force a special session,” Koch said.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, echoed the Republican theme.
“The Republican budget spends what is the state’s checkbook, resolves the 5 billion budget deficit, increases state spending by 6 percent and reforms a status quo state government,” said Zellers.
Dayton has indicated for weeks that he would not consider Republican budget bills until an overall budget agreement was crafted.
In terms of the individual bills, Dayton in his veto letter on the K-12 finance bill said that none of the education initiatives he felt important were included in the bill.
“Additionally, the elimination of integration revenue and freezing of compensatory revenue wrongfully harms poor children and children of color, which I will not accept,” said Dayton in the letter.
Dayton used words like “devastating” and “dismayed” in his veto letter critique of the Republican health and human services finance bill.