Dayton Vetoes Minnesota Education Budget Bills


Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed several more budget bills, ranging from education to parks, which has caused preparations to begin for a special legislative session and the expectancy of a partial government shutdown.

Dayton had already vetoed an education spending bill, and has now added to that vetoes of spending bills for agriculture, environment, jobs, economic development and energy, despite its inclusion of his request of a buffer between farmland and waterways.  According to the governor, the bills were vetoed to due a number of issues, including the elimination of a citizens’ board that had been set up to oversee some decisions at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

In all, $17.5 billion of the $42 billion, two-year budget proposed for the state will not have funding due to the vetoes.

“With his vetoes, he is rejecting bipartisan efforts to put more than $17 billion toward students in every classroom, provide resources to help farmers devastated by avian flu, send relief to miners facing unemployment on the Iron Range,” said Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt in a statement.

The governor will host House Speaker Kurt Daudt this week when talks will resume in an effort to pass the remainder of the state budget.  There has been no word yet concerning when a deal is expected to be reached, and so also no word on when the special session would be scheduled, although Dayton believes it will happen by mid-June.  Planning for the special session had already been put into place after Dayton vetoed the K-12 education bill due to a lack of funding for pre-kindergarten.

School leaders across the state are hoping that part of the vetoed education bill will not include money meant for building maintenance, which has been a large priority for years in districts with limited resources.  Many schools in the state have been forced to forgo routine maintenance in order to keep up with everyday student needs.

Dayton said he is going to be insistent that lawmakers pass a public works finance measure that would fund outdoors and arts projects through a “legacy bill.”  He added that he would be offering a $260 million income tax cut for one year in an effort to convince House Republicans to agree to his special session requests.

If a deal is not reached by June 1, it becomes possible that 10,288 state workers will be laid off by the end of the month.  If it reaches June 15th without a deal being made, state parks will no longer accept camping reservations.

If the special session has not found funding for the agencies affected by the vetoed bills by July 1, they could be shut down unless a court order requires them to remain open.