Citing lack of compromise, Dayton vetoes GOP budget bills

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As expected, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed all budget bills Tuesday that were submitted by the Republicans. His message to the GOP: “Compromise.” Dayton also hit Republicans for including divisive social issues in their budgets.

In the higher education bill, Dayton said he wouldn’t accept restrictions on stem cell research, a provision that was heavily debated in the Legislature. Republicans, and a few DFLers, moved to include a ban on somatic cell nuclear transfer, as well as all products from that procedure in University of Minnesota research, in the budget bill.

“The definition included in the bill is vague and could threaten further development of stem cell research,” Dayton said.

The education budget bill included a private school voucher program that would allow for taxpayer subsidies for religious schooling. Dayton called the provision “unwise.”

“I am disappointed that the bill creates a private school voucher program, an experiment that has not worked in other states,” he wrote. “Until our public schools are funded at adequate and sustainable levels, a diversion of public funds to private schools is unwise.”

The Health and Human Services bill contained health care cuts for 140,000 Minnesotans, which Dayton called “unconscionable.”

He also said the bill had become “a vehicle for divisive social issues,” such as a ban on stem cell research and a ban on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In the Public Safety budget bill, Dayton criticized cuts and changes to the Department of Civil Rights.

“Discrimination remains a serious problem in Minnesota,” he wrote. “Your extreme cut in funding, along with your policy language, would weaken the Human Rights Act and lessen the effectiveness of the Department of Human Rights. This I will not allow.”

In a press statement announcing the vetoes, Dayton accused Republicans of failing to compromise.

“In the spirit of compromise, more than one week ago, I cut my proposal in half, in the hopes that an offer to meet in the middle would spur action towards the balanced solution the people of Minnesota have asked for,” said Dayton. “Instead, you chose to present me with an all-cuts approach, one that has serious consequences for Minnesotans, and that I do not believe is in line with our shared commitment to build a better Minnesota.”

He concluded, “Compromise is never easy, because each person must give up something that is important. Compromise requires us to agree to items that we don’t agree with. That is the only way we will reconcile our differences on the state’s budget. I am returning this and the other budget bills to you with the hope that you will choose to work with me, to find a fair, responsible, and balanced solution.”

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