MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Governor Mark Dayton today made good on a promise to veto a major tax relief bill because it included a 101-million dollar error. The veto set off a flurry of fingerpointing, and new calls for a special session.
The tax bill came out of a rushed and chaotic end to the legislative session. It included a one-word mistake that cut by $101 million a fund that pays for the new Vikings stadium.
After the veto came a blunt rebuke from the governor.
“My message to legislators today: Come back and finish your work,” Dayton said at a press conference.
The veto cancels $256 million dollars in tax relief for everything from a new soccer stadium in St. Paul to emergency fire disaster aid in Madelia to help downtown businesses rebuild.
Top lawmakers met briefly with the governor to negotiate a possible special session, and Republican leaders emerged with no progress.
“The folks of Minnesota elected this Governor, and they elected me to work with him,” Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt said.
“And I think Minnesotans appreciate the fact the we have been a check and balance on the governor’s continuing tax and spending. We will cobntinue to represent that.”
Gov. Dayton says the special session must include money for upgrading security at St. Peter State Hospital, a new science building at the University of Minnesota and a transportation funding package that includes light rail transit.
“I said I want everything. And they want everything. So, you know: we’re that far apart,” Dayton said. “So the only way I know to resolve those differences is to find common ground and meet somewhere in the middle, and I’m saying I’m willing to do that.”
Gov. Dayton says he’s likely to call a special session by the end of June, but there did not appear to be any sense of urgency. Lawmakers don’t even expect to meet again to talk about the transportation and bonding bills until next Wednesday — a week from now.
But the programs in the tax bill may not be dead forever just because of the governor’s veto — the governor says the legislature should pass the Tax Bill again in a Special Session, and he will sign it if the $100 million error is corrected and a tax break is restored to the State High School League.