Minnesota Republicans and Democrats not only can’t agree on a bill to provide an extension of unemployment benefits to iron range workers, they can’t agree on what the other side has said about the bill.
House Republicans added a provision to the bill that also gives businesses a $272 million unemployment insurance tax cut.
Governor Mark Dayton deplored that tactic during his State of the State address on Wednesday. “To hold $29 million of desperately needed unemployment benefits hostage to $272 million in fund cuts is unnecessary. And it’s cruel.”
House Speaker Kurt Daudt says the DFL may be against the linking the two issues, but they haven’t said why. ” I have yet to hear anyone say that the other provisions that are in that bill are controversial. The governor didn’t say it tonight. Nobody said it on the House floor yesterday. And the reality is those are not controversial provisions.”
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen quickly reacted to Daudt’s claim. “The Speaker either has a short memory or has a challenge with the truth. I told him immediately before the (State of the State) speech tonight that we didn’t agree on the $272 million tax cut. So for him to stand in front of you tonight and say that no one has told him that, I think that calls something into question.”
Video at top House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Minority Leader Paul Thissen spar after the State of the State address.