GOP Sen. Leader Warns Of Furloughs Over Budget Veto

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The majority leader of the Minnesota Senate says they will run out of money Dec. 1 unless something happens between now and then.

Furthermore, Sen. Paul Gazelka said that he would plan to suspend operations and furlough staffers. Without extra cash, Gazelka says more than 200 Senate staff will be furloughed Dec. 1. All 67 senators would get their last paycheck in December.

“We don’t take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly – this is not a game – but we really have no other choice today,” Gazelka said. “The Senate is running out of money due to Governor Dayton’s veto of our appropriation. Even though we prevailed in our lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court, the Governor refuses to recognize that order and is forcing us to spend down our carry forward.”

Dayton has insisted the Legislature can take money from separate funds to continue operating. But Gazelka said Wednesday even with that extra money and cost cutting, they could stretch into mid-January.

The legal battle between the Democratic governor and Republican Legislature has been on pause for months. It surrounds Dayton’s decision to veto the House and Senate’s $130 million operating budget in a bid to rework costly tax breaks and other measures.

The Supreme Court hasn’t definitively weighed in since Dayton appealed a Ramsey County District Court decision in July that struck down his veto. The Legislature asked the district court to enforce that decision in October.

But Dayton said last week that decision should be stayed until the Supreme Court issues a final decision. Dayton argues his action was constitutional.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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