Republican leaders call on Dayton to release detailed budget plan


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.