ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Session 2015 came to a chaotic close at the State Capitol, but lawmakers’ work isn’t done yet.
Republicans didn’t get the tax cuts they wanted. Democrats didn’t get the transportation spending they wanted. The governor didn’t get the money for pre-kindergarten programs he wanted.
So on Tuesday Gov. Mark Dayton made good on his threat to take down the $17 billion education bill. It forces a special session, but Dayton said he won’t call one until Republicans give him the pre-kindergarten programs he wants.
Dayton said the legislature is short-changing Minnesota children by under-funding education when the state has a $2 billion surplus.
“It is incomprehensible that estate tax cuts for millionaires and property tax relief for large corporations are higher priorities for the House Republican Caucus than investing adequately in our students and young children,” Dayton said.
The governor’s veto comes after a raucous midnight end to the session.
Democrats tried to shout down Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt, who ignored them and speed-voted the last bill just seconds before adjournment.
Daudt said afterward the governor’s pre-kindergarten program doesn’t have enough support to pass the legislature and even a special session won’t change that.
“I say this very respectfully to the governor: You had five months to build the support and gain the votes in the legislature for his No. 1 priority and unfortunately it didn’t pass either body,” Daudt said. “That’s not my problem.”
No matter when the special session is called, it won’t be held at the state capitol. Workers are emptying the building for a year-long renovation shutdown. Everything must go, from governor portraits to century-old wooden desks, and lawmakers must find another venue.