MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota’s Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of the operating budgets of the State House and Senate earlier this year will stand.
The ruling came down on Thursday amid a fierce legal battle between Dayton and the state’s Republican legislature.
The political bickering goes back to late May, when Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s $130 million operating budget while signing the rest of the new state budget.
The governor wanted lawmakers to rework tax breaks and other measures. GOP leaders then sued.
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruling did not weigh in on the constitutionality of Dayton’s veto, however.
Thursday’s decision hands Dayton a major legal victory as he seeks to rework costly tax breaks and other measures he signed into law this spring as part of a new state budget.
And it leaves the Legislature on uncertain financial footing. However, the supreme court says that the legislature has the funds to operate until they reconvene in February.
The Legislature took initial steps earlier Thursday to free up enough money to continue paying members and staff. Top lawmakers say they may still run out of money in early 2018.
Dayton issued a statement Thursday morning:
“I am very pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld my line-item veto authority, which is established in the Minnesota Constitution. The Court has also found that the Legislature has access to at least $26 million to continue its full operations until it re-convenes in February. Therefore, there was no need for them to have initiated this lawsuit and imposed its costs on our state.
“Thus, the Legislature has no reason to resume negotiations to restore its vetoed funds and to correct its excessive special interest tax reductions, which will jeopardize Minnesota’s future financial stability. So it is time for us all to agree that this dispute has been concluded and resume working together for the best interests of Minnesota.”
WCCO’s Mary McGuire reports Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt responded: “We had hoped the Supreme Court would end this debacle and they have not.”
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