Dayton Rejects GOP-Backed Tax Bill As Session Wanes
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday vetoed a GOP-favored bill that would have aligned Minnesota’s state tax code with federal changes passed last year, raising doubts about whether he and lawmakers can reach agreement on a top priority before time runs out on the session.
The Democratic governor rejected the bill with about 20 grade-school students standing behind him Bruce Vento Elementary School, who counted down and shouted “Veto!” as he stamped the legislation. Dayton said the bill tilted toward the wealthy and corporations and left “crumbs to people who need it.”
The governor also warned earlier this week that he wouldn’t sign a tax bill without the Legislature addressing his request for $138 million in emergency aid to schools facing financial shortfalls that may lead to teacher layoffs and larger class sizes. One GOP criticism of the request has been that the money would flow to all schools, not just those facing shortfalls.
But Republicans say their bill would cut taxes for lower- and middle-income Minnesotans as it would have modestly cut Minnesota income tax rates. Republicans argue that Dayton’s education request came too late in the session. They also say lawmakers have been generous with schools. They point to $1.3 billion in new school funding passed last year and millions more for school safety upgrades and mental health resources being proposed this year.
“What the governor did today was veto a bill that would have put money in lower- and middle-income Minnesotans’ pockets,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt said.
The Legislature adjourns Monday, but Sunday night is the deadline to pass bills, and Dayton warned again Thursday that he will not call a special session.
School funding and taxes are just two of many priorities the Legislature is aiming to accomplish before adjourning May 21. Lawmakers are also hustling to reach compromises on school security improvements, efforts to curb opioid abuse statewide, a package of $825 million or more in public works projects and more.
Party leaders plan to meet with the governor later Thursday.