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GOP pushes past Dayton’s veto threats with budget

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s Republican Legislature isn’t backing down from Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto threats as lawmakers finalize their budget offer.

The Legislature started piecing together budget bills Monday as legislative leaders prepared to head into negotiations with the Democratic governor. That’s where the real work of agreeing to a two-year budget will take place.

And it won’t be easy. Republicans’ environmental funding bill would delay Dayton’s marquee water quality initiative requiring buffers between cropland and waterways from this fall until 2019. Dayton has vowed to veto any changes to the buffer law.

A health care budget also seeks to abolish MNsure by 2019. Dayton has objected but not issued a veto threat.

But Dayton has acknowledged he’ll need to cede some ground to strike a deal before the Legislature’s late May deadline.