Reality Check: Dayton And His Veto Spree

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After vetoing the entire Republican agenda, Gov. Mark Dayton has distinguished himself as one of the most veto-happy governors Minnesota has ever had.

In the last week, Dayton vetoed the Republican budget, the tax bill, the Voter ID bill, two anti-abortion bills and a congressional redistricting bill.

“I’ve just vetoed what they passed and sent to me that i couldn’t support and agree to,” Dayton said.


Dayton might be the ‘veto-ing-est’ chief executive Minnesota’s ever had. In the 5 months since taking office in January, Dayton vetoed 19 bills, which is more than former Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed in his entire first term.


This is not even counting the constitutional amendment banning gay marraige.

Dayton vetoed that, too, even though he doesn’t have a constitutional right to do so.

Why so many vetoes?

“There were a significant number of bills I couldn’t support, ” Dayton said.


Dayton’s vetoes are noteworthy, but not record setting. The record goes to Pawlenty: He vetoed 79 bills in part or in full last year alone. He also set an 8-year record for the most vetoes (299) by any Minnesota governor.

Dayton’s veto total is now edging closer to 25.

Dayton says he hopes to meet with Republican leaders next week to talk about the state budget and making bills he won’t veto.

More from Pat Kessler
  • il

    Governor Dayton is an obstructionist who can’t cooperate with the legislative branch.

    • Orville

      The legislators are a bunch of obstructionist who can’t cooperate with the administrative branch. Checks and balances. The Republicans send out garbage, the governor sends it back.

    • JR

      So that would make “T-Paw” 3 times more obstructionist, right?

    • Mike

      The article could as easily read, The Republican legislature is the most extreme, obstinate, hostile and uncompromising in the states history.

  • Paul Solinger

    And I strongly support every single veto. Thank You, Governor.

    • IwonderIf

      If people actually took the time to read through the garbage in these bills, yes I do believe that we all would have to agree with the “veto’ing”

    • Tim

      Don’t understand how anybody could be against a photo ID bill. Do you really want illegals voting and making decisions in our state? Pretty foolish, IMO.

  • Incredulous1

    I also agree with Gov. Dayton. If we didn’t have such a right wing extremist legislature he wouldn’t have to wield the veto pen.

    • Chris

      How do you see them as extremist? The government has grown every year for over 30 years. And again, the “extreme” budget bills that Dayton vetoed grew it again! They didn’t even reduce the spending and that isn’t enough????? You are nuts. I’d like to see a 10% cut in the budget, not an increase. Your the extremist.

      • Mike


        You can blame it all on Republicans. Since Ronald Reagan initiated tax cuts for the rich, with the intent of creating jobs, the states have been under funded. The trickle down theory Republicans started has led to “starving the beast”, and has continued it’s cancerous spread to local governments. Republican economic philosophy is creating extreme societal changes that will eventually result in a have and have nothing society of people. It is much easier to control the masses by eliminating the middle class and that is what is taking place. The corporations control the news, buy our elections and create laws that exclusively benefit their existence. Wages have been stagnant since the 70’s and their are now 37,000 lobbyist hammering the government for privilege and benefits, all payed for by taxpayers. The extreme agenda set forth by Republicans is not working and it is a matter of time before the revolt by the masses will finally destroy this madness. You are principled by greed and your callous disregard for the common man is reckless and immoral.

      • Dustie

        I’d like to see the rich start paying their fair share of taxes AND for the legislature to stop trying to legislate discrimination against gays, those that need abortions, and those that want to vote (voter IDs are not necessary; what voter fraud). Get real.

  • greentruckford

    I just wish we could get a political reporter who did not lean to a political party like Kessler does. If he reported any more to the left he would have to run a disclaimer before his segments saying this ad is paid for by the DFL party.

    • Grover

      Your head is tilted so far right you cannot see straight. The story was a superficial but fact based story on the number of vetoes by Dayton and Pawlenty.

    • Paul Solinger

      It always amuses me when reporters who report facts, with statistics to back up their reporting, are accused of being liberal. It just goes to prove the adage that is’ not the media who has a liberal bias, it’s reality.

  • Wilbur

    There really was not a bad veto in the bunch. Veto of expanding nuclear plants was a good idea as there are no plans what to do with the spent rods now. Voter ID law would have been struck down by the courts. If you can’t sue the restaurant for poisoning you, that is a good veto. Budget bills that do not address the problems is a good 9 vetoes. A gerrymandered map for the congressional districts was another good veto.

  • Jerry Brosious

    Wow, Kessler’s opening paragraph is really misleading. If you read on it sounds like it’s PAWLENTY who was the king of vetoes. Apparently he didn’t veto much in his first term, but that all changed by 2010 (or sooner?) I’m not trying to be smarty, but did no editor look at Kessler’s piece? Read the first sentence under “IN FACT” and then read the first paragraph under “HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW”. Kessler has not written logically here, and again where was an editor on this piece?

  • Nica

    Thank you, Gov, Dayton!

  • Joe

    Thank you, Governor.

  • GOP

    too bad the republicans have the upper hand in the house and can do more damage than that bug-eyed crazy we call Governor. Let the games begin! The Right always wins!!

  • Mr. Mustache

    Governor Goofy has only one thing on his mind and that will be to raise the taxes on those people in this state that are rich and have their money still here. Governor Goofy moved the Dayton fortune to South Dakota years ago. Lets then go with the Republican option to tax all the rich people in the state no matter how many days they live here or not. Governor Goofy said nix to that too. The whole purpose to tax the rich from his point was to create more social programs for those that don’t do a damn thing to help themselves. When its all said and done, the rich will disappear leaving the middle class once again to pay for more welfare. It will also come down on the small business owners shoulders too which will cost them money and people will be put out of work.
    The Senate and Reps were elected to bring the problem ( SPENDING ) under control and not increase the deficit by more spending. Besides when Governor Goofy hears that the Canadians are coming across the border on their snow mobiles, you will once again find him hiding in a closet like he did in DC. He has the title as the worst Senator already, soon to be crowned the worst Governor ever in the state of Minnesota. One only has to look at these vetoes and see this is his personal agenda and not what the people in this state voted for in November. How soon they forget.

  • Mr. Mustache

    People forget that it was Governor plenty took care of a $4.3 billion dollar deficit when he go into office and that was with no new taxes. Yup you will say what about those fees? Well if you don’t like the price of the fees then don’t use the service that was being charged by it on the state level. Democrats or more commonly called Liberturds these days are nothing but a social driven party that wants to control every aspect of your life. Once those choices are gone guess what folks you have no option. Can’t happen here, its happened in the past and is happening in Europe with glaring examples of that idea that has lead to failure each and every time.

    • old nurse

      You lack of knowledge on what was in the spending bills is mortifying. The net result in those bills was a prayer that there would be a federal waiver, Cutting services to the working poor and leaving the freeloaders alone. But you can name call and feel good about yourself. You can forget that Jesse Ventura proposed cuts with a limited tax increase. You can forget that when there was a surplus, Venture got the legislature to give it back. Northern Europe is doing just fine by the way. Just keep your limited views and your limited vision.Keep those dark blue glasses on. At keep on trying to marginalize people by name calling, it reflects on what kind of person you are.

    • Paul

      mr mushmouth you are a total idiot Pawlenty left Minnesota with a defict of over 5billion dollars that was really great for Minnesota…………….WRONG! your name calling is redundent and moronic you say the same cr&p everytime you speak maybe you should think before you speak !

  • glenn

    dayton is a little dictator who has no comcept of how to run a business…he is another trust baby bent on “doing good” for all mankind…he wants to raise taxes and raise spending….he should be dog catcher instead

    • Gov. Mark Dayton

      What else am I supposed to do?

    • Guy

      DOGS deserve better than that … THEY didn’t elect this idiot.

      • Dave

        Actually, with the lack of voter ID, the DFL likely used them to win.

  • Tutor57

    Could it be Pawlenty vetoed so many more bills his second term because he was positioning himself to run for Presdent and really didn’t have Minnesota’s best interests in mind?

  • Brett

    To all democrats: Why do you honestly believe that the budget should be balanced by taxing one group of people? Let’s tax everyone if the gov. wants to raise taxes. Otherwise, we need to cut the spending. (for example 1% of my $50K is $500, and 1% of the next guy’s $100K is $1000. So you would still be taking more money from the guys with a higher income.)

    • Me

      Do you honestly believe you can balance the budget on cuts alone

      • Brett

        1. It would be nice to try. Why do we spend what we don’t have??
        2. What do you think? Is it fair to only tax one class of people?

        • still me

          So lets try this how about we balance with both, Why the rich because if we are all going to feel this then it should be all not just the poor and middle class and that would be fair for all. and my opinion is that the rich got us in this mess with their greed and shipping our jobs overseas. and that is how the shortage of revenue started, But this is useless talking to you folks because you are either rich or you hope to be rich someday or you have this weird idea that if we cut everything this will solve everything, and I bet you are the first to complain about the potholes

          • Brett

            still me…stop whining. I’m not complaining about potholes. Don’t be so defensive. “it is useless talking to you folks”

            Your response and the lack of response of other democrats tell me the truth. You want to tax the other guy (as long as it is not you) and don’t want to tighten your own belt.)

            When I was laid off, I needed to change my spending habits (less movies / entertainment, smarter shopping, etc). I didn’t tell my neighbor that I needed $50 to dinner and a movie. The state needs to do the same thing rather than tax.

    • Matt

      Brett, we aren’t taxed on a flat rate. the poor has the highest tax percent followed by the middle class, the richest people have the lowest tax percent.

      • Brett

        Matt – You are correct, we are not taxed a flat rate. But you need to look at the tax tables to understand this better. The higher your income, the higher your tax rate is. A flat tax would probably be a good idea.

        I don’t understand your comment about the poor being charged the highest tax percent.

        My point would be to raise the taxes 1% for everyone, no matter what bracket your are in.

    • Paul Solinger

      Because the cuts that are being proposed will already be negatively impacting the other groups of people. The only people, under the Republican’s plan, who isn’t affected are the wealthy. Dayton’s tax plan is the only plan that calls for shared sacrifice from everyone.

  • Jake

    Just a note to Pat, who I think is becoming more and more obviously liberal by the day: Dayton didn’t even get HALF the vote in Minnesota, while the legislature went overwhelmingly Republican. Dayton has no mandate. The Legislature does. What the Legislature should do NOW is send a new budget MINUS the $2 Billion increase, just freeze it at the last budget level. The Legislature gave him a balanced budget, Dayton vetoed it, but he still isn’t KING. This wasn’t the year for a stalemate at the Capitol. Most Minnesotans, from BOTH parties, supported the Voter ID bill by a HUGE margin, so there WAS bi-partisan support. Dayton only represents a few core special interest groups. That wasn’t what we needed this year.

    • Paul Solinger

      Jake, Pawlenty never got half the vote, either.

      Also, Republicans were able to get majorities within their own district, some of whom ran unopposed, which is far easier to accomplish then getting a majority of the statewide vote when there are three candidates.

      Republicans can claim mandate all the want, but the truth is that they are all up for reelection next year, and if they aren’t perceived as compromising with the Governor, their majority will be short-lived.

      • MN nice

        We will see. Talk smart, eat crow

    • Greg

      So Pawlenty was King? So now you want to cancel the game you held the citizens of the State of Minnesota hostage with for 8 years? 30 years ago you picked your path to power “as label and divide” now you reap what you sow, a deeply divided state and a fractured country. Further you want to “throw all the bums out” just not your bums. You campaign on fiscal issues and small government then you legislate peoples bedrooms and civil rights.

      You do not have a mandate!

  • Tim Tracy

    So, the republicans spent all of their time on a gay marriage amendment to the constitution, an issue which is already addressed by state law. Then they spent time on a bill requiring picture IDs to vote, which is a solution in search of a problem and would be struck down by the courts. Governor Dayton attempted to compromise on his tax proposal but was met with silence from the republicans. No movement. No negotiations whatsoever. Instead, they waited until the last minute to finally submit a budget that they know very well Governor Dayton won’t support, expecting that he has to sign it? Thank you Governor Dayton.

  • Get 'er done!

    Thank you Gov. Dayton! Checks and balances at work! Now please, both sides work together for a real compromise, one which will not bankrupt us, nor leave the most vulnerable without a safety net. And if taxes are not raised on the wealthiest, who have prospered the past year, then perhaps they can create 50,000 decent jobs? Please? I’ll accept no new taxes if the rich create 50,000 jobs.

  • Sorry, but

    The Republicans were not elected to compromise our principles.

    • Double Standard

      See, when Republicans refuse to negotiate, it is “refusing to compromise our principles”.

      When Democrats refuse to negotiate, they’re obstructionist and not doing the job the public elected them to.

      Gotta love the spin…

      • Get a life

        Liberals have no principles.

    • Citizen

      @Sorry, but. What principles. Tax the poor to provide even more wealth to the richest 2%? Demonize gay people, throw the elderly onto the street. Yeah, those principles…..

  • SnowFire

    GOP principles include religion – religion needs to pay taxes and stop lobbying as this is wasting state revenue! Religion is irrational as you can see in the GOP comments listed here! Pawlenty left this mess and now his party is blaming Dayton, par for the course. GOP bills introduced since December include cutting corporate taxes – income and property and they say this will create jobs. If a profitable corporation wants to reduce the tax it pays the best plan is to increase the payroll/hire employees thus reducing the taxable profits! The GOP approach – cut corporate taxes and maybe they will start hiring is irrational.

    • Citizen

      I like your ideas, SnowFire!

  • Gianni

    Why veto the Voter I.D. bill? Oh, I know, so he can get the cadaver and illegal alien votes for his party. What an idiot of a Governor

  • Pavel

    The Governor is right. The legislature passed junk and he sent it back to them. RIGHT ON!

  • Pavel

    SnowFire: You have a good point. Perhaps it is time to begin taxing church property. That in itself would solve the budget crisis!

  • Pat

    I don’t think “happy” is the adjective thatthe governor would choose to call himself. He is faced with a pile of Republican garbage that needs to be cleared off his desk. I have not supported even one of the Bills he has vetoed. Good going governor! Keep it up! We do not want ot look like the mess happening in Wisconsin with a rubber stamp Legislature and Governor, handing the keys to the kingdom to big business and the wealthy!

  • StraycatStrut

    I concur……… Stupid IN….Stupid OUT……. we get what we voted for which includes Morons.

  • kevin

    time to find drunken Waldo. O there here is hidding behind his veto pen.

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