Republican legislative leaders called on Gov. Mark Dayton to release more details on his proposed budget, and said Dayton is playing politics with a potential government shutdown.
At a press conference, the leaders said Dayton hasn’t offered a detailed budget proposal in more than 90 days. House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) called it a “very sad and troubling milestone.”
In May, Dayton offered to cut his proposed tax increases in half, from $3.6 billion to $1.8 billion, but did not identify specifically which programs he would cut. Zellers called on Dayton to do just that.
“It’s only fair to us — more importantly, to the people of Minnesota — that he come to the table and show us where his priorities are,” he said.
Unless Dayton and lawmakers enact a new biennial budget by July 1, a state government shutdown may be necessary. Zellers said Republicans are “absolutely committed” to avoiding a shutdown, but also restated their opposition to tax increases, which he said would “squash economic recovery.”
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo) said Dayton should call lawmakers back into session to pass budget bills on which there is agreement or near agreement. She said Republicans might also be open to a “lights-on” bill to fund government temporarily, but emphasized there is still time for a complete budget agreement.
“All options for us are on the table because a shutdown is completely unnecessary,” Koch said.
Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina) suggested the governor is making a “raw political power move” to shut down state government.
“He is sprinting toward the shutdown with a pessimistic tone and outlook. This state needs more optimism and more positivity from its chief executive,” Michel said.