Calling the tactics used by Republicans “a sneak attack” Governor Mark Dayton has used his line-item veto to eliminate funding for the Minnesota legislature with the intent of forcing a special session on his terms.
Dayton avoided a government shutdown by signing all nine of the budget bills the legislature passed — including the tax bill which has several provisions he would like to veto. However, Dayton says the State Government bill has a provision that “attempts to eliminate all funding for the Minnesota Department of Revenue in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, if the tax bill were not enacted.”
In his letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka Dayton wrote:
“I consider this provision, snuck into the State Government bill without my knowledge, to be a reprehensible sneak attack, which shatters whatever trust we achieved during the Session. Now I understand why you made it almost impossible for my staff and me to obtain drafts of your bills’ language, sometimes not until minutes before they were brought to the floor for passage.
“I will not risk a legal challenge to the Depatiment of Revenue’s budget and cause unce1iainty for its over 1,300 employees. Because of your action, which attempts to restrict my executive power, I am left with only the following means to raise my strong objections to your tax bill, which favors wealthy individuals, large corporations; and moneyed special interests at the expense of the State of Minnesota’s fiscal stability in the years ahead.”
Dayton line-item vetoed funding for the House and Senate for fiscal years 2018-19 and 2020-21. He says he will call a special session if the legislative leaders agree to five conditions.
Dayton’s conditions for a special session
- Eliminate the Tobacco Tax Breaks that will cost the state more than $50 million over the next four years.
- Cancel the Estate Tax Exclusion Increase which Dayton says would “benefit only a handful of the richest people in Minnesota at a cost to the State of $34.8 million in FY 18/19, $74.5 million in FY in FY 20/21, and even more in years following.”
- Changing the freeze on business property taxes. Dayton says he supports excluding the first $100,000 of business property from statewide taxes for the next biennium. “However, freezing the levy has disastrous effects in future years, costing tlie State almost $85 million in FY 20/21 and even more·in years following. Over the next ten years, the total revenue loss to the State would be over $1 billion.”
- Eliminating anti-immigrant language in a drivers license provision of the public safety bill. Dayton says the language which “prohibits undocumented immigrants from obtaining drivers licenses is, as I have said repeatedly, completely redundant and, therefore, unnecessary”
- Renegotiate the Teacher Licensure bill which Dayton says “undermine the high professional standards that have served Minnesota’s school children extremely well.”