He said Republicans have rejected his emergency funding plan because the proposal hasn’t received hearings in the Legislature – but the Republicans themselves were moving major legislation of their own in secret.
“Their entire process has been behind closed doors, withholding information from the public, other legislators, and my administration,” Dayton said at a news conference. “So for them to claim that they can’t provide emergency school aid for Minnesota schoolchildren is just absurd.”
In light of that refusal, Dayton savaged provisions of the tax bill agreed upon by conferees Friday for giving breaks to the big money interests of Minnesota.
“Let’s give the breaks to our kids and our teachers instead by funding emergency school aid,” he said. “My position is, I will not engage in any negotiations on the tax bill, or sign any tax bill, until we have an agreement to provide emergency school aid.”
Dayton believes there are clear political motivations to the tax policy Republicans have put forward.
“These folks are just falling all over themselves, doing whatever they can, to help out the money interests in Minnesota,” he said. “You add that to protecting the pharmaceutical industry, you add that to protecting the large nursing home corporations … everybody that can do (Republicans) some good in November, they just can’t do enough for them.”
However, Dayton said he may be willing to concede issues in the tax bill he personally feels are bad public policy, if it means Republicans will go along with some of what he wants.
The Legislature must complete its work by midnight Sunday.
Republican leaders react
They instead focused their criticism on their assertion the proposal was introduced far too late in the session and would take too much money out of the budget surplus to gain any traction with them.
“(We’ve) never had a conversation (about it), and we talk quite frequently,” Daudt said. “The governor did not include it his supplemental budget, so it looks like a political thing.”
If Dayton wants the funding, Daudt said, he can call a special session.
Gazelka called the education proposal, which was offered May 1 by the governor, “next to impossible.”
If a tax bill is not passed into law, he said, the state will not conform to the new federal tax system and filing will be very difficult for Minnesotans. The education proposal would siphon surplus money away from other priorities such as opioids and MNLARS, he added.
“The opioid bill can be signed, if they produce it and the House will agree with the Senate that the pharmaceutical industry bears some responsibility (for the opioid crisis) and should be paying some of the cost of that,” Dayton said.
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Introduced in March 2017 by Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton) and Sen. Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights), HF2470/SF2259, aims to stop the cycle of opioid misuse and addiction through education.
The conference committee tasked with hammering out the differences that divide the House and Senate on a laundry list of major issues met for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
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The latest numbers are a $517 million swing from the November forecast
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