Dayton vetoes remaining budget bills, says shutdown ‘strong likelihood’


Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the remaining nine budget bills passed by Republican lawmakers and said a government shutdown is likely unless they agree to a budget plan that includes new revenues.

In a press conference, Dayton called the Republicans’ budget plan “harsh and unfair,” and said he would call legislators back for a special session after he and legislative leaders worked out a compromise to fund state government for the next two years.

“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,” he wrote in a statement.

Legislators adjourned late last night without a deal on the budget. Last week, Dayton called for a $1.8 billion tax increase on the top 2 percent of income earners in the state, saying it represented a middle ground between the Republicans’ budget and the $3.4 billion tax increase he proposed in February.

Republican leaders are touring the state to shore up support for their budget plan, which does not include any new taxes. They argue their plan supports economic growth in the state. But Dayton said their plan, which includes funding cuts for many state programs, would harm middle-class Minnesotans.

The governor blamed an “extreme right-wing” faction of Republican lawmakers for undermining budget negotiations. He said Republican leaders are being held captive by a number of “intransigent” freshman lawmakers who refuse to budge on the issue of new revenues.

Dayton said he would prefer to negotiate a budget agreement with legislative leaders before calling them back for a special session. If they do not enact a new budget by July 1, many agencies would likely be forced to shut down operations.

The governor said he believes there is a “strong likelihood” of a government shutdown, and he planned to meet with Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter to discuss the potential impacts.

The official veto messages for all eight budget bills and the omnibus tax bill can be found below: