MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Later this week, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to announce whether or not he will call a special session of the Minnesota Legislature.
Appearing on WCCO Sunday Morning, the governor said he won’t call a special session unless he gets more funding for higher education and the controversial Southwest Light Rail Transit project.READ MORE: Fmr. Substitute Teacher Pleads Guilty To ‘Sextortion Scheme’ Involving More Than 10 Minors
Specifically for the mass transit initiative, Dayton wants lawmakers to help the Metropolitan Council bring down hundreds of millions of federal dollars for the line that would connect downtown Minneapolis to the southwest metro.
Last weekend, the regular session imploded. Major bills, including massive transportation legislation and a $1 billion bonding bill, were left undone. Even the bills that passed have measures that were snuck in at the last minute.
One of bills that passed was a $260 million package of tax cuts. It provides relief to farmers and businesses, a new tax credit for students with high debt loads, and a credit to help parents with child care costs.
But the bill also has a $32 million tax cut for smokers.
The bill strips out automatic increases to taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products that the Legislature passed in 2013. Democrats say they didn’t know the tax cut was in the bill, and some are even calling on the governor to veto the entire package.READ MORE: University Of North Dakota Aerospace School Halts Flights After Student Dies In Crash
Dayton said that while the tax cut for big tobacco companies “shouldn’t be there,” he is unlikely to veto the tax cut package because of it.
Republicans say they got their share of surprises, too.
They say a last-minute move to include funding for the Southwest Light Rail line led to the collapse of a transportation deal minutes before the session expired.
Dayton says he will only call a special session if all sides can agree on deals beforehand — something legislative leaders and the governor weren’t able to do in the 11 weeks of the regular session.
The governor said that despite some reservations, he will likely sign a bill that creates statewide guidelines for the use of police body cameras.MORE NEWS: State Auditor: St. Paul School Lost $4.3 Million In Risky Hedge Fund Investment
Watch Esme Murphy’s interview with the governor in the video above.