Dayton vetoes GOP budget, ensuring special session

Published 12:14 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the entire budget from the Republican-controlled Legislature on Tuesday, guaranteeing that he will have to call a special session.

The Democratic governor struck down eight spending bills and a tax bill about 12 hours after lawmakers adjourned as required by the constitution. Failure by Dayton and Republicans to agree on a budget by the end of June would mean a state government shutdown beginning July 1.

Republicans sent Dayton a budget he repeatedly threatened to reject as budget talks bogged down in a dispute over taxes and spending.

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“You chose to present me with an all-cuts approach, one that has serious consequences for Minnesotans, and that I do not believe is in line with our shared commitment to build a better Minnesota,” Dayton said in one of the veto messages.

The GOP-approved budget would have capped state spending at about $34 billion, the amount the state is projected to take in over the next two years. Dayton instead proposed higher taxes for the top 2 percent of incomes to bring in $1.8 billion more.

Minnesota has a budget deficit projected at $5 billion over the next two years.

Dayton is expected to call a special session to finish the two-year budget, which begins in July. He hasn’t indicated when he will call lawmakers back to the Capitol.

Republican legislative leaders toured the state by plane Tuesday to promote their budget and speak out against Dayton’s proposal to raise income taxes.

The Republican budget package that Dayton vetoed totaled $34 billion in state spending; the governor wants that to be supplemented with another $1.8 billion in new revenue, either through his income tax proposal or other means.

Republicans say that $34 billion should be enough.