Governor Mark Dayton continues pressuring Republicans to reopen negotiations on several controversial items in the state budget, while they prepare for possible legal action against him. Dayton wants Republicans to undo tax cuts for tobacco, businesses and wealthy estates that were in budget bills that he says he signed to avoid government shutdown. Trying to bring Republicans back to the bargaining table, he vetoed funding for the legislature, which G-O-P leaders say not only breaks his agreement with them but violates the state constitution. Dayton disagrees, saying, “The constitution assigned this power of the line-item veto to me. It assigned the legislature the authority to set budgets, to cut off budgets, not to fund agencies, as they’ve also done to the courts.”
Dayton says Republicans’ tax cuts take billions of dollars over the next decade out of the state’s coffers and threaten Minnesota’s fiscal stability. He says, “We’ve seen what happened the previous decade when the state did not have the fiscal stability necessary to weather a recession, and the consequences of that were horrific.” Republicans respond the state has had a string of budget surpluses and taxpayers should get back at least some of the money they overpaid — but they say Dayton and Democrats want to continue taxing and spending.
Here’s an excerpt from the governor’s Friday news conference, in which he contends he’s not violating the separation of powers article in the Minnesota Constitution: