Dayton rejects 2 biggest bills passed by GOP-led Legislature

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed the tax conformity and budget bills that state lawmakers passed in the waning days of the session.

Posted: May 23, 2018 11:12 AM
Updated: May 23, 2018 3:03 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed massive tax and budget bills on Wednesday that Minnesota lawmakers passed in the waning days of the session, setting off a cascade of consequences that he blamed on Republican majorities for not negotiating in earnest.

While Dayton's veto was largely expected, top Republicans responded Wednesday by calling it "vindictive" and branding the governor "a failure."

The Democratic governor's veto of the tax bill means all Minnesota taxpayers will face a more complex filing season next year, and some families and businesses may be taxed more heavily. It also prevents funding going out for schools to make security improvements, money to help public schools fill budget deficits, reimbursement for local offices who have struggled with the state's new driver registration system, opioid abuse prevention efforts and more.

The Legislature had already passed a two-year budget last year. Dayton's veto means some major tweaks and top priorities won't become law.

Dayton said the Republican tax bill was skewed too heavily toward corporations and wealthier residents, noting a modest income tax rate cut would net larger benefits for the highest earners.

He called the bills a result of political gamesmanship and not sound policymaking.

"They wanted their talking points, they wanted re-election, election campaign slogans. And that's exactly what they're already doing," Dayton said. "Reaching an agreement with me was not part of their game plan."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Kurt Daudt said they were blindsided by the vetoes, with Daudt lashing out at Dayton: "This session isn't a failure. Our governor is a failure."

Gazelka said rattled off a long list of Minnesota residents who he said would be harmed by Dayton's decision, including people with disabilities and their caretakers who face a budget cut and Secretary of State Steve Simon, who needed authorization to access federal money to boost election cybersecurity.

"In the end, it feels impulsive, it feels vindictive and it didn't help anybody in Minnesota," Gazelka said.

Dayton isn't seeking a third term. Members of the House, currently controlled by Republicans 77-56, are up for election in November. Senators are not on the ballot.

Dayton accused Republicans of loading up a massive budget bill to try to force his signature, including funding for opioid abuse prevention and revamping oversight of senior care facilities. Republicans argued they removed more than half of the provisions Dayton had demanded be pulled out and stressed they provided $225 million to 59 Minnesota schools suffering budget shortfalls — though less than a quarter of that funding was new money.

Dayton called it "fake education funding."

And one of the marquee issues of the session remains unfinished. The Legislature needed to tweak its tax code to account for the big federal overhaul passed late last year.

Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly, the state's top tax official, said work is underway to make sure Minnesotans can still easily file their taxes even without a so-called conformity bill. She said no vendors such as TurboTax have indicated they would leave Minnesota or raise their prices, but that residents who itemize their taxes may need to answer more questions or provide more receipts.

Dayton downplayed the consequences of the legislative impasse, and reiterated that he would not call lawmakers back to try again in a special session. He suggested lawmakers could make corrections to the tax code when a new Legislature — and governor — returns in January.

"I'm not saying that's a good way to approach this, but the sky is not falling," he said. "It could and should have been avoided," Dayton said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 95659

Reported Deaths: 2056
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26960930
Ramsey10911320
Dakota7524126
Anoka6092133
Stearns401024
Washington379955
Scott257433
Olmsted244628
Nobles197116
Blue Earth16996
Wright16327
St. Louis160241
Carver14197
Clay138940
Rice13358
Mower13285
Sherburne115014
Kandiyohi10112
Winona88718
Lyon6954
Waseca6698
Benton5523
Steele5472
Freeborn5424
Nicollet54016
Watonwan5284
Crow Wing51618
Todd4952
Chisago4941
McLeod4882
Le Sueur4674
Otter Tail4414
Beltrami4215
Martin40810
Goodhue3659
Itasca32814
Pine3280
Douglas3102
Polk3054
Isanti2971
Becker2802
Carlton2701
Morrison2492
Dodge2390
Cottonwood2250
Pipestone22510
Chippewa2141
Meeker2022
Wabasha1960
Sibley1923
Brown1912
Yellow Medicine1822
Cass1804
Rock1730
Unassigned17052
Redwood1673
Mille Lacs1643
Murray1642
Renville1518
Jackson1481
Faribault1450
Swift1381
Houston1280
Kanabec1258
Roseau1230
Koochiching1223
Fillmore1200
Pennington1191
Lincoln1110
Hubbard1031
Stevens1031
Pope940
Big Stone820
Aitkin801
Wadena690
Wilkin653
Grant614
Lake590
Lac qui Parle581
Norman540
Marshall521
Mahnomen481
Red Lake451
Traverse310
Clearwater270
Lake of the Woods221
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 85533

Reported Deaths: 1305
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15872262
Woodbury544764
Johnson512627
Black Hawk448990
Linn4010111
Story344417
Dubuque325741
Scott301128
Dallas278538
Pottawattamie211338
Buena Vista199112
Marshall178434
Sioux16183
Wapello133357
Webster125514
Plymouth114121
Clinton112121
Muscatine110855
Crawford10885
Cerro Gordo105721
Warren9566
Jasper83832
Des Moines7848
Marion7637
Henry7434
Tama71331
Carroll6625
Lee6377
Wright5811
Dickinson5276
Boone5078
Bremer4927
Washington45911
Louisa42915
Mahaska41219
Delaware4023
Floyd3493
Jackson3493
Franklin34818
Winneshiek3356
Clay3264
Lyon3264
Hamilton3223
Benton3101
Winnebago30313
Hardin2991
Poweshiek2958
Buchanan2791
Jones2743
Butler2702
Kossuth2700
Shelby2671
Clarke2653
Emmet26510
Allamakee2616
Clayton2523
Chickasaw2500
Sac2500
Cherokee2492
Cedar2461
Guthrie2456
Fayette2222
Harrison2223
Grundy2203
Madison2192
Iowa2091
Palo Alto2020
Humboldt1903
Mitchell1900
Howard1886
Hancock1842
Calhoun1833
Mills1801
Page1700
Cass1682
Osceola1610
Monroe15911
Pocahontas1592
Lucas1566
Monona1531
Jefferson1381
Appanoose1363
Union1353
Taylor1301
Davis1244
Ida1221
Fremont1180
Van Buren1141
Keokuk1091
Worth1080
Greene1010
Montgomery965
Wayne862
Audubon821
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